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Phosphorus (P) deficiency is one of the major limitations for crop production. A significant relationship exists between plant P uptake from soils and the accumulation of P and other mineral elements in seeds. The aims of this study were to identify and characterize genetic loci (QTLs) controlling the accumulation of mineral elements in seeds of Brassica napus grown with contrasting P availabilities.
A population of 124 recombinant inbred lines derived from a cross between P-inefficient ‘B104-2’ and P-efficient ‘Eyou Changjia’ was used for phenotypic investigation and QTL analysis. Two-year field trials were conducted with two P treatments. Concentrations of mineral elements (P, Ca, Mg, Fe, Zn, Cu and Mn) in seeds were determined and QTLs were identified by composite interval mapping.
There was significant genetic variation in seed concentrations of all mineral elements, and correlations between most elements were observed. A total of 78 putative QTLs (45 under the normal-P conditions and 33 under the low-P conditions) were detected, covering 17 linkage groups and accounting for 7·84–18·1 % of the phenotypic variation. Sixteen of these QTLs were identified in at least two environments, and co-location of QTLs for different mineral traits was found on several linkage groups. By in silico mapping, 21 genes involved in ion homeostasis in Arabidopsis were mapped to the QTL intervals identified in B. napus.
The accumulation of mineral elements in seeds is controlled by multiple genes. Common physiological and molecular mechanisms could be involved in the accumulation of several mineral elements, and genes involved in these processes in B. napus are suggested. These results offer insights to the genetic basis of seed mineral accumulation across different P levels in B. napus.