Identification of positive yield QTL alleles from exotic soybean germplasm in two backcross populations

K-S Kim, B W Diers, D L Hyten, M A Rouf Mian, J G Shannon, R L Nelson
TAG. Theoretical and Applied Genetics. Theoretische und Angewandte Genetik 2012, 125 (6): 1353-69
Increasing seed yield is an important breeding goal of soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.] improvement efforts. Due to the small number of ancestors and subsequent breeding and selection, the genetic base of current soybean cultivars in North America is narrow. The objective of this study was to map quantitative trait loci (QTL) in two backcross populations developed using soybean plant introductions as donor parents. The first population included 116 BC(2)F(3)-derived lines developed using "Elgin" as the recurrent parent and PI 436684 as the donor parent (E population). The second population included 93 BC(3)F(3)-derived lines developed with "Williams 82" as the recurrent parent and PI 90566-1 as the donor parent (W population). The two populations were evaluated with 1,536 SNP markers and during 2 years for seed yield and other agronomic traits. Genotypic and phenotypic data were analyzed using the programs MapQTL and QTLNetwork to identify major QTL and epistatic QTL. In the E population, two yield QTL were identified by both MapQTL and QTLNetwork, and the PI 436684 alleles were associated with yield increases. In the W population, a QTL allele from PI 90566-1 accounted for 30 % of the yield variation; however, the PI region was also associated with later maturity and shorter plant height. No epistasis for seed yield was identified in either population. No yield QTL was previously reported at the regions where these QTL map indicating that exotic germplasm can be a source of new alleles that can improve soybean yield.

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