The Genetic Architecture of Maize Flowering Time

Science. 2009 Aug 7;325(5941):714-8. doi: 10.1126/science.1174276.

Abstract

Flowering time is a complex trait that controls adaptation of plants to their local environment in the outcrossing species Zea mays (maize). We dissected variation for flowering time with a set of 5000 recombinant inbred lines (maize Nested Association Mapping population, NAM). Nearly a million plants were assayed in eight environments but showed no evidence for any single large-effect quantitative trait loci (QTLs). Instead, we identified evidence for numerous small-effect QTLs shared among families; however, allelic effects differ across founder lines. We identified no individual QTLs at which allelic effects are determined by geographic origin or large effects for epistasis or environmental interactions. Thus, a simple additive model accurately predicts flowering time for maize, in contrast to the genetic architecture observed in the selfing plant species rice and Arabidopsis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Chromosomes, Plant / genetics
  • Epistasis, Genetic
  • Flowers / genetics*
  • Flowers / growth & development
  • Gene Frequency
  • Genes, Plant
  • Genetic Variation
  • Geography
  • Inbreeding
  • Phenotype
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide
  • Quantitative Trait Loci*
  • Quantitative Trait, Heritable
  • Recombination, Genetic
  • Time Factors
  • Zea mays / genetics*
  • Zea mays / growth & development
  • Zea mays / physiology