A consensus and saturated genetic map provides insight into genome anchoring, synteny of Solanaceae and leaf- and fruit-related QTLs in wolfberry (Lycium Linn.)

BMC Plant Biol. 2021 Jul 24;21(1):350. doi: 10.1186/s12870-021-03115-1.


Background: Lycium Linn. (Solanaceae) is a genus of economically important plants producing fruits and leaves with high nutritional value and medicinal benefits. However, genetic analysis of this plant and molecular breeding for quality improvement are limited by the lack of sufficient molecular markers.

Results: In this study, two parental strains, 'Ningqi No. 1' (Lycium barbarum L.) and 'Yunnan Gouqi' (Lycium yunnanense Kuang et A.M. Lu), and 200 F1 hybrid individuals were resequenced for genetic analysis. In total, 8,507 well-selected SNPs were developed, and a high-density genetic map (NY map) was constructed with a total genetic distance of 2,122.24 cM. A consensus genetic map was established by integrating the NY map and a previously published genetic map (NC map) containing 15,240 SNPs, with a total genetic distance of 3,058.19 cM and an average map distance of 0.21 cM. The 12 pseudochromosomes of the Lycium reference genome were anchored using this consensus genetic map, with an anchoring rate of 64.3%. Moreover, weak collinearities between the consensus map and the pepper, potato, and tomato genomes were observed. Twenty-five stable QTLs were identified for leaf- and fruit-related phenotypes, including fruit weight, fruit longitude, leaf length, the fruit index, and the leaf index; these stable QTLs were mapped to four different linkage groups, with LOD scores ranging from 2.51 to 19.37 and amounts of phenotypic variance explained from 6.2% to 51.9%. Finally, 82 out of 188 predicted genes underlying stable QTLs for fruit-related traits were differentially expressed according to RNA-seq analysis.

Conclusions: A chromosome-level assembly can provide a foundation for further functional genomics research for wolfberry. The genomic regions of these stably expressed QTLs could be used as targets for further fine mapping and development of molecular markers for marker-assisted selection (MAS). The present study provided valuable information on saturated SNP markers and reliable QTLs for map-based cloning of functional genes related to yield and morphological traits in Lycium spp.

Keywords: Genetic map; Genome synteny; Leaf- and fruit-related traits; Lycium Linn; QTL; Resequencing.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • China
  • Chromosome Mapping*
  • Crops, Agricultural / genetics
  • Fruit / genetics*
  • Genetic Linkage*
  • Genetic Markers*
  • Genetic Variation
  • Lycium / genetics*
  • Phenotype
  • Plant Leaves / genetics*
  • Quantitative Trait Loci*
  • Synteny / genetics


  • Genetic Markers