QTL analysis of cadmium and zinc accumulation in the heavy metal hyperaccumulator Thlaspi caerulescens

Theor Appl Genet. 2006 Sep;113(5):907-20. doi: 10.1007/s00122-006-0350-y. Epub 2006 Jul 19.


Thlaspi caerulescens (Tc; 2n = 14) is a natural Zn, Cd and Ni hyperaccumulator species belonging to the Brassicaceae family. It shares 88% DNA identity in the coding regions with Arabidopsis thaliana (At) (Rigola et al. 2006). Although the physiology of heavy metal (hyper)accumulation has been intensively studied, the molecular genetics are still largely unexplored. We address this topic by constructing a genetic map based on AFLP markers and expressed sequence tags (ESTs). To establish a genetic map, an F(2) population of 129 individuals was generated from a cross between a plant from a Pb/Cd/Zn-contaminated site near La Calamine, Belgium, and a plant from a comparable site near Ganges (GA), France. These two accessions show different degrees of Zn and, particularly, Cd accumulation. We analyzed 181 AFLP markers (of which 4 co-dominant) and 13 co-dominant EST sequences-based markers and mapped them to seven linkage groups (LGs), presumably corresponding to the seven chromosomes of T. caerulescens. The total length of the genetic map is 496 cM with an average density of one marker every 2.5 cM. This map was used for Quantitative Trait Locus (QTL) mapping in the F(2). For Zn as well as Cd concentration in root we mapped two QTLs. Three QTLs and one QTL were mapped for Zn and Cd concentration in shoot, respectively. These QTLs explain 23.8-60.4% of the total variance of the traits measured. We found only one common locus (LG6) for Zn and Cd (concentration in root) and one common locus for shoot and root concentrations of Zn (LG1) and of Cd (LG3). For all QTLs, the GA allele increased the trait value except for two QTLs for Zn accumulation in shoot (LG1 and LG4) and one for Zn concentration in root (LG1).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cadmium / metabolism*
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Expressed Sequence Tags
  • Genetic Linkage*
  • Genetic Markers
  • Genotype
  • Phenotype
  • Plant Roots / genetics
  • Plant Roots / metabolism
  • Plant Shoots / genetics
  • Plant Shoots / metabolism
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Quantitative Trait Loci / genetics*
  • Thlaspi / genetics*
  • Zinc / metabolism*


  • Genetic Markers
  • Cadmium
  • Zinc