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. 2017 Mar;118(3):249-259.
doi: 10.1038/hdy.2016.88. Epub 2016 Nov 23.

Association Mapping for Phenology and Plant Architecture in Maize Shows Higher Power for Developmental Traits Compared With Growth Influenced Traits

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Free PMC article

Association Mapping for Phenology and Plant Architecture in Maize Shows Higher Power for Developmental Traits Compared With Growth Influenced Traits

S Bouchet et al. Heredity (Edinb). .
Free PMC article

Abstract

Plant architecture, phenology and yield components of cultivated plants have repeatedly been shaped by selection to meet human needs and adaptation to different environments. Here we assessed the genetic architecture of 24 correlated maize traits that interact during plant cycle. Overall, 336 lines were phenotyped in a network of 9 trials and genotyped with 50K single-nucleotide polymorphisms. Phenology was the main factor of differentiation between genetic groups. Then yield components distinguished dents from lower yielding genetic groups. However, most of trait variation occurred within group and we observed similar overall and within group correlations, suggesting a major effect of pleiotropy and/or linkage. We found 34 quantitative trait loci (QTLs) for individual traits and six for trait combinations corresponding to PCA coordinates. Among them, only five were pleiotropic. We found a cluster of QTLs in a 5 Mb region around Tb1 associated with tiller number, ear row number and the first PCA axis, the latter being positively correlated to flowering time and negatively correlated to yield. Kn1 and ZmNIP1 were candidate genes for tillering, ZCN8 for leaf number and Rubisco Activase 1 for kernel weight. Experimental repeatabilities, numbers of QTLs and proportion of explained variation were higher for traits related to plant development such as tillering, leaf number and flowering time, than for traits affected by growth such as yield components. This suggests a simpler genetic determinism with larger individual QTL effects for the first category.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1
Projection of traits (a) and inbred lines (b) on the two first PCA axes built with the 24 traits. Colors on the right hand plot indicate genetic groups.
Figure 2
Figure 2
Within genetic group variance of the 24 traits. For each trait on the x-axis, the relative within group variance on the y-axis corresponds to the variance within each group divided by the overall variance.
Figure 3
Figure 3
Pleiotropic effects of detected QTL. Lines in orange, green and blue correspond to more than 5, 1 and 0 markers with associations for both traits, respectively. Traits were positioned empirically to minimize the number of crossing links in Supplementary Figure S6C. (a) Associations were accounted for P-values <E-04. (b) Associations were accounted for P-values <E-05.

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