Genetic analysis of agronomic traits associated with plant architecture by QTL mapping in maize

Z P Zheng, X H Liu
Genetics and Molecular Research: GMR 2013, 12 (2): 1243-53
Maize (Zea mays L.) is one of the most important cereal crops worldwide, and increasing the grain yield and biomass has been among the most important goals of maize production. The plant architecture can determine the grain yield and biomass to some extent; however, the genetic basis of the link between the plant architecture and grain yield/biomass is unclear. In this study, an immortal F9 recombinant inbred line population, derived from the cross Mo17 x Huangzao4, was used to detect quantitative trait loci (QTLs) for 3 traits associated with plant architecture under two nitrogen regimes: plant height, ear height, and leaf number. As a result, 8 and 10 QTLs were identified under the high nitrogen regime and low nitrogen regime, respectively. These QTLs mapped to chromosomes 1 (six QTLs), 2 (one QTL), 3 (one QTL), 7 (two QTLs), and 9 (eight QTLs), and had different genetic distances to their closest markers, ranging from 0 to 22.0 cM, explaining 4.7 to 20.5% of the phenotypic variance. Because of an additive effect, 9 and 9 could make the phenotypic values of traits increase and decrease to some extent, respectively. These results are beneficial for understanding the genetic basis of agronomic traits associated with plant architecture and for performing marker-assisted selection in maize breeding programs.

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