Multi-environment QTL analysis of grain morphology traits and fine mapping of a kernel-width QTL in Zheng58 × SK maize population

Mohammad Sharif Raihan, Jie Liu, Juan Huang, Huan Guo, Qingchun Pan, Jianbing Yan
TAG. Theoretical and Applied Genetics. Theoretische und Angewandte Genetik 2016, 129 (8): 1465-77
Sixteen major QTLs regulating maize kernel traits were mapped in multiple environments and one of them, qKW - 9.2 , was restricted to 630 Kb, harboring 28 putative gene models. To elucidate the genetic basis of kernel traits, a quantitative trait locus (QTL) analysis was conducted in a maize recombinant inbred line population derived from a cross between two diverse parents Zheng58 and SK, evaluated across eight environments. Construction of a high-density linkage map was based on 13,703 single-nucleotide polymorphism markers, covering 1860.9 cM of the whole genome. In total, 18, 26, 23, and 19 QTLs for kernel length, width, thickness, and 100-kernel weight, respectively, were detected on the basis of a single-environment analysis, and each QTL explained 3.2-23.7 % of the phenotypic variance. Sixteen major QTLs, which could explain greater than 10 % of the phenotypic variation, were mapped in multiple environments, implying that kernel traits might be controlled by many minor and multiple major QTLs. The major QTL qKW-9.2 with physical confidence interval of 1.68 Mbp, affecting kernel width, was then selected for fine mapping using heterogeneous inbred families. At final, the location of the underlying gene was narrowed down to 630 Kb, harboring 28 putative candidate-gene models. This information will enhance molecular breeding for kernel traits and simultaneously assist the gene cloning underlying this QTL, helping to reveal the genetic basis of kernel development in maize.

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