Genetic analysis of the metabolome exemplified using a rice population

Liang Gong, Wei Chen, Yanqiang Gao, Xianqing Liu, Hongyan Zhang, Caiguo Xu, Sibin Yu, Qifa Zhang, Jie Luo
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2013 December 10, 110 (50): 20320-5
Plant metabolites are crucial for both plant life and human nutrition. Despite recent advance in metabolomics, the genetic control of plant metabolome remains largely unknown. Here, we performed a genetic analysis of the rice metabolome that provided over 2,800 highly resolved metabolic quantitative trait loci for 900 metabolites. Distinct and overlapping accumulation patterns of metabolites were observed and complex genetic regulation of metabolism was revealed in two different tissues. We associated 24 candidate genes to various metabolic quantitative trait loci by data mining, including ones regulating important morphological traits and biological processes. The corresponding pathways were reconstructed by updating in vivo functions of previously identified and newly assigned genes. This study demonstrated a powerful tool and provided a vast amount of high-quality data for understanding the plasticity of plant metabolome, which may help bridge the gap between the genome and phenome.

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