Identification of nutrient and physical seed trait QTL in the model legume Lotus japonicus

Genome. 2009 Aug;52(8):677-91. doi: 10.1139/g09-039.


Legume seeds have the potential to provide a significant portion of essential micronutrients to the human diet. To identify the genetic basis for seed nutrient density, quantitative trait locus (QTL) analysis was conducted with the Miyakojima MG-20 x Gifu B-129 recombinant inbred population from the model legume Lotus japonicus. This population was grown to seed under greenhouse conditions in 2006 and 2007. Phenotypic data were collected for seed calcium (Ca), copper (Cu), iron (Fe), potassium (K), magnesium (Mg), manganese (Mn), phosphorus (P), sulfur (S), and zinc (Zn) concentrations and content. Data for physical seed traits (average seed mass and seed-pod allocation values) were also collected. Based on these phenotypic data, QTL analyses identified 103 QTL linked to 55 different molecular markers. Transgressive segregation, identified within this recombinant inbred population for both seed nutrient and physical traits, suggests new allelic combinations are available for agronomic trait improvement. QTL co-localization was also seen, suggesting that common transport processes might contribute to seed nutrient loading. Identification of loci involved in seed mineral density can be an important first step in identifying the genetic factors and, consequently, the physiological processes involved in mineral distribution to developing seeds. Longer term research efforts will focus on facilitating agronomic breeding efforts through ortholog identification in related crop legumes.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Chromosomes, Plant / genetics
  • Genes, Plant
  • Genotype
  • Lotus / genetics*
  • Lotus / growth & development
  • Lotus / physiology
  • Microsatellite Repeats / genetics*
  • Phenotype
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / genetics*
  • Quantitative Trait Loci*
  • Seeds / genetics*
  • Seeds / growth & development
  • Seeds / physiology