qRf8-1 , a Novel QTL for the Fertility Restoration of Maize CMS-C Identified by QTL-seq

Mingmin Zheng, Tian Yang, Xiaowei Liu, Guihua Lü, Peng Zhang, Bin Jiang, Shufeng Zhou, Yanli Lu, Hai Lan, Shuzhi Zhang, Chuan Li, Tingzhao Rong, Moju Cao
G3: Genes—Genomes—Genetics 2020 May 29
C-type cytoplasmic male sterility (CMS-C), one of the three major CMS types in maize, has a promising application prospect in hybrid seed production. However, the complex genetic mechanism underlying the fertility restoration of CMS-C remains poorly understood. The maize inbred line A619 is one of the rare strong restorer lines carrying the restorer gene Rf4 , but different fertility segregation ratios are found in several F2 populations derived from crosses between isocytoplasmic allonucleus CMS-C lines and A619. In the present study, the segregation ratios of fertile to sterile plants in the (CHuangzaosi × A619) F2 and BC1 F1 populations (36.77:1 and 2.36:1, respectively) did not follow a typical monogenic model of inheritance, which suggested that some F2 and BC1 F1 plants displayed restored fertility even without Rf4 To determine the hidden locus affecting fertility restoration, next-generation sequencing-based QTL-seq was performed with two specific extreme bulks consisting of 30 fertile and 30 sterile rf4rf4 individuals from the F2 population. A major QTL related to fertility restoration, designated qRf8-1 , was detected on the long arm of chromosome 8 in A619. Subsequently, qRf8-1 was further validated and narrowed down to a 17.93-Mb genomic interval by insertion and deletion (InDel) and simple sequence repeat (SSR) marker-based traditional QTL mapping, explaining 12.59% (LOD=25.06) of the phenotypic variation. Thus, using genetic analyses and molecular markers, we revealed another fertility restoration system acting in parallel with Rf4 in A619 that could rescue the male sterility of CHuangzaosi. This study not only expands the original fertility restoration system but also provides valuable insights into the complex genetic mechanisms underlying the fertility restoration of CMS-C.

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