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Genetic control and comparative genomic analysis of flowering time in Setaria (Poaceae)

Margarita Mauro-Herrera, Xuewen Wang, Hugues Barbier, Thomas P Brutnell, Katrien M Devos, Andrew N Doust
G3: Genes—Genomes—Genetics 2013, 3 (2): 283-95
23390604
We report the first study on the genetic control of flowering in Setaria, a panicoid grass closely related to switchgrass, and in the same subfamily as maize and sorghum. A recombinant inbred line mapping population derived from a cross between domesticated Setaria italica (foxtail millet) and its wild relative Setaria viridis (green millet), was grown in eight trials with varying environmental conditions to identify a small number of quantitative trait loci (QTL) that control differences in flowering time. Many of the QTL across trials colocalize, suggesting that the genetic control of flowering in Setaria is robust across a range of photoperiod and other environmental factors. A detailed comparison of QTL for flowering in Setaria, sorghum, and maize indicates that several of the major QTL regions identified in maize and sorghum are syntenic orthologs with Setaria QTL, although the maize large effect QTL on chromosome 10 is not. Several Setaria QTL intervals had multiple LOD peaks and were composed of multiple syntenic blocks, suggesting that observed QTL represent multiple tightly linked loci. Candidate genes from flowering time pathways identified in rice and Arabidopsis were identified in Setaria QTL intervals, including those involved in the CONSTANS photoperiod pathway. However, only three of the approximately seven genes cloned for flowering time in maize colocalized with Setaria QTL. This suggests that variation in flowering time in separate grass lineages is controlled by a combination of conserved and lineage specific genes.

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