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A combination of QTL mapping and genome-wide association study revealed the key gene for husk number in maize

As a by-product of maize production, maize husk is an important industrial raw material. Husk layer number (HN) is an important trait that affects the yield of maize husk. However, the genetic mechanism underlying HN remains unclear. Herein, a total of 13 quantitative trait loci (QTL) controlling HN were identified in an IBM Syn 10 DH population across different locations. Among these, three QTL were individually repeatedly detected in at least two environments

Zhenjuan Liang, Na Xi, Tao Liu, Minglin Li, Mengxiang Sang, Chaoying Zou, Zhong Chen, Guangsheng Yuan, Guangtang Pan, Langlang Ma & Yaou Shen

Theoretical and Applied Genetics; May 2024; vol.137; article 112

Figure: Maize Husk

Key message

Two key genes Zm00001d021232 and Zm00001d048138 were identified by QTL mapping and GWAS. Additionally, they were verified to be significantly associated with maize husk number (HN) using gene-based association study.

Abstract

As a by-product of maize production, maize husk is an important industrial raw material. Husk layer number (HN) is an important trait that affects the yield of maize husk. However, the genetic mechanism underlying HN remains unclear. Herein, a total of 13 quantitative trait loci (QTL) controlling HN were identified in an IBM Syn 10 DH population across different locations. Among these, three QTL were individually repeatedly detected in at least two environments. Meanwhile, 26 unique single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were detected to be significantly (p < 2.15 × 10–6) associated with HN in an association pool. Of these SNPs, three were simultaneously detected across multiple environments or environments and best linear unbiased prediction (BLUP). We focused on these environment-stable and population-common genetic loci for excavating the candidate genes responsible for maize HN. Finally, 173 initial candidate genes were identified, of which 22 were involved in both multicellular organism development and single-multicellular organism process and thus confirmed as the candidate genes for HN. Gene-based association analyses revealed that the variants in four genes were significantly (p < 0.01/N) correlated with HN, of which Zm00001d021232 and Zm00001d048138 were highly expressed in husks and early developing ears among different maize tissues. Our study contributes to the understanding of genetic and molecular mechanisms of maize husk yield and industrial development in the future.

 

See https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00122-024-04617-w

 

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