A Quantitative Trait Locus (QTL) analysis was performed using two novel Recombinant Inbred Line (RIL) populations, derived from the progeny between two Arabidopsis thaliana genotypes collected at the same site in Kyoto (Japan) crossed with the reference laboratory strain Landsberg erecta (Ler). We used these two RIL populations to determine the genetic basis of seed dormancy and flowering time, which are assumed to be the main traits controlling life history variation in Arabidopsis. The analysis revealed quantitative variation for seed dormancy that is associated with allelic variation at the seed dormancy QTL DOG1 (for Delay Of Germination 1) in one population and at DOG6 in both. These DOG QTL have been previously identified using mapping populations derived from accessions collected at different sites around the world. Genetic variation within a population may enhance its ability to respond accurately to variation within and between seasons. In contrast, variation for flowering time, which also segregated within each mapping population, is mainly governed by the same QTL.
The model plant Arabidopsis thaliana (Arabidopsis) shows a wide range of genetic and trait variation among wild accessions. Because of its unparalleled biological and genomic resources, the potential of Arabidopsis for molecular genetic analysis of this natural variation has increased dramatically in recent years.
Advanced genomics has accelerated molecular phylogenetic analysis and gene identification by quantitative trait loci (QTL) mapping and/or association mapping in Arabidopsis. In particular, QTL mapping utilizing natural accessions is now becoming a major strategy of gene isolation, offering an alternative to artificial mutant lines. Furthermore, the genomic information is used by researchers to uncover the signature of natural selection acting on the genes that contribute to phenotypic variation. The evolutionary significance of such genes has been evaluated in traits such as disease resistance and flowering time. However, although molecular hallmarks of selection have been found for the genes in question, a corresponding ecological scenario of adaptive evolution has been difficult to prove. Ecological strategies, including reciprocal transplant experiments and competition experiments, and utilizing near-isogenic lines of alleles of interest will be a powerful tool to measure the relative fitness of phenotypic and/or allelic variants.
As the plant model organism, Arabidopsis provides a wealth of molecular background information for evolutionary genetics. Because genetic diversity between and within Arabidopsis populations is much higher than anticipated, combining this background information with ecological approaches might well establish Arabidopsis as a model organism for plant evolutionary ecology.
Arabidopsis; natural genetic variation; natural trait variation; QTL mapping; LD mapping; plant development; plant evolution; molecular ecology
Little is known about the range and the genetic bases of naturally occurring variation for flavonoids. Using Arabidopsis thaliana seed as a model, the flavonoid content of 41 accessions and two recombinant inbred line (RIL) sets derived from divergent accessions (Cvi-0×Col-0 and Bay-0×Shahdara) were analysed. These accessions and RILs showed mainly quantitative rather than qualitative changes. To dissect the genetic architecture underlying these differences, a quantitative trait locus (QTL) analysis was performed on the two segregating populations. Twenty-two flavonoid QTLs were detected that accounted for 11–64% of the observed trait variations, only one QTL being common to both RIL sets. Sixteen of these QTLs were confirmed and coarsely mapped using heterogeneous inbred families (HIFs). Three genes, namely TRANSPARENT TESTA (TT)7, TT15, and MYB12, were proposed to underlie their variations since the corresponding mutants and QTLs displayed similar specific flavonoid changes. Interestingly, most loci did not co-localize with any gene known to be involved in flavonoid metabolism. This latter result shows that novel functions have yet to be characterized and paves the way for their isolation.
Arabidopsis; flavonoids; metabolite profiling; natural variation; quantitative trait loci
Even when phenotypic differences are large between natural or domesticated strains, the underlying genetic basis is often complex, and causal genomic regions need to be identified by quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping. Unfortunately, QTL positions typically have large confidence intervals, which can, for example, lead to one QTL being masked by another, when two closely linked loci are detected as a single QTL. One strategy to increase the power of precisely localizing small effect QTL, is the use of an intercross approach before inbreeding to produce Advanced Intercross RILs (AI-RILs).
We present two new AI-RIL populations of Arabidopsis thaliana genotyped with an average intermarker distance of 600 kb. The advanced intercrossing design led to expansion of the genetic map in the two populations, which contain recombination events corresponding to 50 kb/cM in an F2 population. We used the AI-RILs to map QTL for light response and flowering time, and to identify segregation distortion in one of the AI-RIL populations due to a negative epistatic interaction between two genomic regions.
The two new AI-RIL populations, EstC and KendC, derived from crosses of Columbia (Col) to Estland (Est-1) and Kendallville (Kend-L) provide an excellent resource for high precision QTL mapping. Moreover, because they have been genotyped with over 100 common markers, they are also excellent material for comparative QTL mapping.
Plant growth and development are tightly linked to primary metabolism and are subject to natural variation. In order to obtain an insight into the genetic factors controlling biomass and primary metabolism and to determine their relationships, two Arabidopsis thaliana populations [429 recombinant inbred lines (RIL) and 97 introgression lines (IL), derived from accessions Col-0 and C24] were analyzed with respect to biomass and metabolic composition using a mass spectrometry-based metabolic profiling approach. Six and 157 quantitative trait loci (QTL) were identified for biomass and metabolic content, respectively. Two biomass QTL coincide with significantly more metabolic QTL (mQTL) than statistically expected, supporting the notion that the metabolic profile and biomass accumulation of a plant are linked. On the same basis, three out the six biomass QTL can be simulated purely on the basis of metabolic composition. QTL based on analysis of the introgression lines were in substantial agreement with the RIL-based results: five of six biomass QTL and 55% of the mQTL found in the RIL population were also found in the IL population at a significance level of P ≤ 0.05, with >80% agreement on the allele effects. Some of the differences could be attributed to epistatic interactions. Depending on the search conditions, metabolic pathway-derived candidate genes were found for 24–67% of all tested mQTL in the database AraCyc 3.5. This dataset thus provides a comprehensive basis for the detection of functionally relevant variation in known genes with metabolic function and for identification of genes with hitherto unknown roles in the control of metabolism.
metabolic quantitative trait loci (mQTL); recombinant inbred line (RIL); introgression line (IL); Arabidopsis; GC-MS; metabolomics
Low-level, partial resistance is pre-eminent in natural populations, however, the mechanisms underlying this form of resistance are still poorly understood.
In the present study, we used the model pathosystem Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato DC3000 (Pst) - Arabidopsis thaliana to study the genetic basis of this form of resistance. Phenotypic analysis of a set of Arabidopsis accessions, based on evaluation of in planta pathogen growth revealed extensive quantitative variation for partial resistance to Pst. It allowed choosing a recombinant inbred line (RIL) population derived from a cross between the accessions Bayreuth and Shahdara for quantitative genetic analysis. Experiments performed under two different environmental conditions led to the detection of two major and two minor quantitative trait loci (QTLs) governing partial resistance to Pst and called PRP-Ps1 to PRP-Ps4. The two major QTLs, PRP-Ps1 and PRP-Ps2, were confirmed in near isogenic lines (NILs), following the heterogeneous inbred families (HIFs) strategy. Analysis of marker gene expression using these HIFs indicated a negative correlation between the induced amount of transcripts of SA-dependent genes PR1, ICS and PR5, and the in planta bacterial growth in the HIF segregating at PRP-Ps2 locus, suggesting an implication of PRP-Ps2 in the activation of SA dependent responses.
These results show that variation in partial resistance to Pst in Arabidopsis is governed by relatively few loci, and the validation of two major loci opens the way for their fine mapping and their cloning, which will improve our understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying partial resistance.
Plant responses to environmental stresses are polygenic and complex traits. In this study quantitative genetics using natural variation in Arabidopsis thaliana was used to investigate the genetic architecture of plant responses to salt stress. Eighty seven A. thaliana accessions were screened and showed a large variation for root development and seed germination under 125 and 200 mM NaCl, respectively. Twenty two quantitative trait loci for these traits have been detected by phenotyping two recombinants inbred line populations, Sha x Col and Sha x Ler. Four QTLs controlling germination under salt were detected in the Sha x Col population. Interestingly, only one allelic combination at these four QTLs inhibits germination under salt stress, implying strong epistatic interactions between them. In this interacting context, we confirmed the effect of one QTL by phenotyping selected heterozygous inbred families. We also showed that this QTL is involved in the control of germination under other stress conditions such as KCl, mannitol, cold, glucose and ABA. Our data highlights the presence of a genetic network which consists of four interacting QTLs and controls germination under limiting environmental conditions.
Oil from oleaginous seeds is mainly composed of triacylglycerols. Very long chain fatty acids (VLCFAs) are major constituents of triacylglycerols in many seed oils and represent valuable feedstock for industrial purposes. To identify genetic factors governing natural variability in VLCFA biosynthesis, a quantitative trait loci (QTL) analysis using a recombinant inbred line population derived from a cross between accessions Bay-0 and Shahdara was performed in Arabidopsis thaliana. Two fatty acid chain length ratio (CLR) QTL were identified, with one major locus, CLR.2, accounting for 77% of the observed phenotypic variation. A fine mapping and candidate gene approach showed that a key enzyme of the fatty acid elongation pathway, the β-ketoacyl-CoA synthase 18 (KCS18), was responsible for the CLR.2 QTL detected between Bay-0 and Shahdara. Association genetics and heterologous expression in yeast cells identified a single point mutation associated with an alteration of KCS18 activity, uncovering the molecular bases for the modulation of VLCFA content in these two natural populations of Arabidopsis. Identification of this kcs18 mutant with altered activity opens new perspectives for the modulation of oil composition in crop plants.
Quantitative approaches are now widely used to study the genetic architecture of complex traits. However, most studies have been conducted in single mapping populations, which sample only a fraction of the natural allelic variation available within a gene pool and can identify only a subset of the loci controlling the traits. To enable the progress towards an understanding of the global genetic architecture of a broad range of complex traits, we have developed and characterised six new Arabidopsis thaliana recombinant inbred populations. To evaluate the utility of these populations for integrating analyses from multiple populations, we identified quantitative trait loci (QTL) controlling flowering time in vernalized plants growing in 16 h days. We used the physical positions of markers to align the linkage maps of our populations with those of six existing populations. We identified seven QTL in genomic locations coinciding with those identified in previous studies and in addition a further eight QTL were identified.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00122-007-0696-9) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
The timing of flowering initiation is a fundamental trait for the adaptation of annual plants to different environments. Large amounts of intraspecific quantitative variation have been described for it among natural accessions of many species, but the molecular and evolutionary mechanisms underlying this genetic variation are mainly being determined in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. To find novel A. thaliana flowering QTL, we developed introgression lines from the Japanese accession Fuk, which was selected based on the substantial transgression observed in an F2 population with the reference strain Ler. Analysis of an early flowering line carrying a single Fuk introgression identified Flowering Arabidopsis QTL1 (FAQ1). We fine-mapped FAQ1 in an 11 kb genomic region containing the MADS transcription factor gene SHORT VEGETATIVE PHASE (SVP). Complementation of the early flowering phenotype of FAQ1-Fuk with a SVP-Ler transgen demonstrated that FAQ1 is SVP. We further proved by directed mutagenesis and transgenesis that a single amino acid substitution in SVP causes the loss-of-function and early flowering of Fuk allele. Analysis of a worldwide collection of accessions detected FAQ1/SVP-Fuk allele only in Asia, with the highest frequency appearing in Japan, where we could also detect a potential ancestral genotype of FAQ1/SVP-Fuk. In addition, we evaluated allelic and epistatic interactions of SVP natural alleles by analysing more than one hundred transgenic lines carrying Ler or Fuk SVP alleles in five genetic backgrounds. Quantitative analyses of these lines showed that FAQ1/SVP effects vary from large to small depending on the genetic background. These results support that the flowering repressor SVP has been recently selected in A. thaliana as a target for early flowering, and evidence the relevance of genetic interactions for the intraspecific evolution of FAQ1/SVP and flowering time.
In many plant species, the timing of flowering initiation shows abundant quantitative variation among natural varieties, which reflects the importance of this trait for adaptation to different environments. Currently, a major goal in plant biology is to determine the molecular and evolutionary bases of this natural genetic variation. In this study we demonstrate that the central flowering regulator SHORT VEGETATIVE PHASE (SVP), encoding a MADS transcription factor, is involved in the flowering natural variation of the model organism Arabidopsis thaliana. In particular, we prove that a structural change caused by a single amino acid substitution generates a SVP early flowering allele that is distributed only in Asia. Furthermore, genetic interactions have been shown to be a component of the natural variation for many important adaptive traits. However, very few studies, either in animals or plants, have systematically addressed the extent of genetic interactions among specific alleles responsible for the natural variation of complex traits. Our study shows that the flowering effects of SVP natural alleles depend significantly on the genetic background; and, subsequently, we demonstrate the relevance of epistasis for the evolution of this crucial transcription factor and flowering time.
For the last years reliable mapping of quantitative trait loci (QTLs) has become feasible through linkage analysis based on the variance-components method. There are now many approaches to the QTL analysis of various types of crosses within one population (breed) as well as crosses between divergent populations (breeds). However, to analyse a complex pedigree with dominance and inbreeding, when the pedigree's founders have an inter-population (hybrid) origin, it is necessary to develop a high-powered method taking into account these features of the pedigree.
We offer a universal approach to QTL analysis of complex pedigrees descended from crosses between outbred parental lines with different QTL allele frequencies. This approach improves the established variance-components method due to the consideration of the genetic effect conditioned by inter-population origin and inbreeding of individuals. To estimate model parameters, namely additive and dominant effects, and the allelic frequencies of the QTL analysed, and also to define the QTL positions on a chromosome with respect to genotyped markers, we used the maximum-likelihood method. To detect linkage between the QTL and the markers we propose statistics with a non-central χ2-distribution that provides the possibility to deduce analytical expressions for the power of the method and therefore, to estimate the pedigree's size required for 80% power. The method works for arbitrarily structured pedigrees with dominance and inbreeding.
Our method uses the phenotypic values and the marker information for each individual of the pedigree under observation as initial data and can be valuable for fine mapping purposes. The power of the method is increased if the QTL effects conditioned by inter-population origin and inbreeding are enhanced. Several improvements can be developed to take into account fixed factors affecting trait formation, such as age and sex.
Mapping chromosome regions responsible for quantitative phenotypic variation in recombinant populations provides an effective means to characterize the genetic basis of complex traits. We conducted a quantitative trait loci (QTL) analysis of 150 rice recombinant inbred lines (RILs) derived from a cross between two cultivars, Oryza sativa ssp. indica cv. 93-11 and Oryza sativa ssp. japonica cv. Nipponbare. The RILs were genotyped through next-generation sequencing, which accurately determined the recombination breakpoints and provided a new type of genetic markers, recombination bins, for QTL analysis. We detected 49 QTL with phenotypic effect ranging from 3.2 to 46.0% for 14 agronomics traits. Five QTL of relatively large effect (14.6–46.0%) were located on small genomic regions, where strong candidate genes were found. The analysis using sequencing-based genotyping thus offers a powerful solution to map QTL with high resolution. Moreover, the RILs developed in this study serve as an excellent system for mapping and studying genetic basis of agricultural and biological traits of rice.
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The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00122-010-1449-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Behavioral genetic mapping studies in model organisms predominantly use crosses originating from a single pair of inbred lines to determine the location of alleles that confer genetic variation in the trait of interest, and they often make sweeping generalizations about the genetic architecture of the trait based on these results. A previous study fine mapped mate preference variation between one pair of Drosophila pseudoobscura lines and identified 2 strong-effect behavioral quantitative trait loci (QTLs). Here, we replicated the previous study's mapping design to examine the extent of variation at these behavioral QTLs across 6 pairs of lines, but we were unable to detect effects of either QTL region in the pairs of lines studied. We suggest that the low-discrimination alleles at these 2 QTLs may occur at low frequency within D. pseudoobscura, although other explanations for the inconsistency are possible. These results underscore the need to examine multiple strains across a species when describing the genetic variation underlying behavioral traits.
Drosophila; QTL mapping; sexual isolation; species discrimination
The identification of the causative genetic variants in quantitative trait loci (QTL) influencing phenotypic traits is challenging, especially in crosses between outbred strains. We have previously identified several QTL influencing tameness and aggression in a cross between two lines of wild-derived, outbred rats (Rattus norvegicus) selected for their behavior towards humans. Here, we use targeted sequence capture and massively parallel sequencing of all genes in the strongest QTL in the founder animals of the cross. We identify many novel sequence variants, several of which are potentially functionally relevant. The QTL contains several regions where either the tame or the aggressive founders contain no sequence variation, and two regions where alternative haplotypes are fixed between the founders. A re-analysis of the QTL signal showed that the causative site is likely to be fixed among the tame founder animals, but that several causative alleles may segregate among the aggressive founder animals. Using a formal test for the detection of positive selection, we find 10 putative positively selected regions, some of which are close to genes known to influence behavior. Together, these results show that the QTL is probably not caused by a single selected site, but may instead represent the joint effects of several sites that were targets of polygenic selection.
high-throughput sequencing; sequence capture; positive selection; behavior; QTL mapping
A major challenge in biology is to identify molecular polymorphisms responsible for variation in complex traits of evolutionary and agricultural interest. Using the advantages of Arabidopsis thaliana as a model species, we sought to identify new genes and genetic mechanisms underlying natural variation for shoot growth using quantitative genetic strategies. More quantitative trait loci (QTL) still need be resolved to draw a general picture as to how and where in the pathways adaptation is shaping natural variation and the type of molecular variation involved. Phenotypic variation for shoot growth in the Bur-0 × Col-0 recombinant inbred line set was decomposed into several QTLs. Nearly-isogenic lines generated from the residual heterozygosity segregating among lines revealed an even more complex picture, with major variation controlled by opposite linked loci and masked by the segregation bias due to the defective phenotype of SG3 (Shoot Growth-3), as well as epistasis with SG3i (SG3-interactor). Using principally a fine-mapping strategy, we have identified the underlying gene causing phenotypic variation at SG3: At4g30720 codes for a new chloroplast-located protein essential to ensure a correct electron flow through the photosynthetic chain and, hence, photosynthesis efficiency and normal growth. The SG3/SG3i interaction is the result of a structural polymorphism originating from the duplication of the gene followed by divergent paralogue's loss between parental accessions. Species-wide, our results illustrate the very dynamic rate of duplication/transposition, even over short periods of time, resulting in several divergent—but still functional—combinations of alleles fixed in different backgrounds. In predominantly selfing species like Arabidopsis, this variation remains hidden in wild populations but is potentially revealed when divergent individuals outcross. This work highlights the need for improved tools and algorithms to resolve structural variation polymorphisms using high-throughput sequencing, because it remains challenging to distinguish allelic from paralogous variation at this scale.
Plant growth is a very complex character impacted by almost any aspect of plant biology and showing continuous variation among natural populations of a single species like Arabidopsis thaliana. Although difficult, it is important to reveal the precise genetic architecture of such a trait's variation to improve our understanding of the mechanisms and evolutionary significance of phenotypic variation. By using recombinant inbred lines derived from a cross between the reference strain ‘Col-0’ and the Irish strain ‘Bur-0’, we have localized several regions of the genome impacting plant growth. When attempting to confirm one of this region's effect, we revealed an even more complex genetic architecture where a first locus (which had remained undetected initially) has a major effect on growth only when a specific genotype was present at a second locus. We have shown here that the reason for this epistatic interaction between the two loci is that the functional allele for a gene important for photosynthesis efficiency and, consequently, growth, had been transposed from one locus to the other in Bur-0 compared to Col-0. This type of structural polymorphism seems to be frequent among strains and, although more difficult to detect, is likely to be of significant evolutionary importance.
A major goal of today's biology is to understand the genetic basis of quantitative traits. This can be achieved by statistical methods that evaluate the association between molecular marker variation and phenotypic variation in different types of mapping populations. The objective of this work was to evaluate the statistical power of quantitative trait loci (QTL) detection of various multi-parental mating designs, as well as to assess the reasons for the observed differences. Our study was based on an empirical data of 20 Arabidopsis thaliana accessions, which have been selected to capture the maximum genetic diversity. The examined mating designs differed strongly with respect to the statistical power to detect QTL. We observed the highest power to detect QTL for the diallel cross with random mating design. The results of our study suggested that performing sibling mating within subpopulations of joint-linkage mapping populations has the potential to considerably increase the power for QTL detection. Our results, however, revealed that using designs in which more than two parental alleles segregate in each subpopulation increases the power even more.
Arabidopsis thaliana; statistical power; QTL detection; multi-parental RILs
The three-dimensional shape of grain, measured as grain length, width, and thickness (GL, GW, and GT), is one of the most important components of grain appearance in rice. Determining the genetic basis of variations in grain shape could facilitate efficient improvements in grain appearance. In this study, an F7:8 recombinant inbred line population (RIL) derived from a cross between indica and japonica cultivars (Nanyangzhan and Chuan7) contrasting in grain size was used for quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping. A genetic linkage map was constructed with 164 simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers. The major aim of this study was to detect a QTL for grain shape and to fine map a minor QTL, qGL7.
Four QTLs for GL were detected on chromosomes 3 and 7, and 10 QTLs for GW and 9 QTLs for GT were identified on chromosomes 2, 3, 5, 7, 9 and 10, respectively. A total of 28 QTLs were identified, of which several are reported for the first time; four major QTLs and six minor QTLs for grain shape were also commonly detected in both years. The minor QTL, qGL7, exhibited pleiotropic effects on GL, GW, GT, 1000-grain weight (TGW), and spikelets per panicle (SPP) and was further validated in a near isogenic F2 population (NIL-F2). Finally, qGL7 was narrowed down to an interval between InDel marker RID711 and SSR marker RM6389, covering a 258-kb region in the Nipponbare genome, and cosegregated with InDel markers RID710 and RID76.
Materials with very different phenotypes were used to develop mapping populations to detect QTLs because of their complex genetic background. Progeny tests proved that the minor QTL, qGL7, could display a single mendelian characteristic. Therefore, we suggested that minor QTLs for traits with high heritability could be isolated using a map-based cloning strategy in a large NIL-F2 population. In addition, combinations of different QTLs produced diverse grain shapes, which provide the ability to breed more varieties of rice to satisfy consumer preferences.
Natural genetic variation in Arabidopsis thaliana exists for many traits and often reflects acclimation to local environments. Studying natural variation has proven valuable in the characterization of phenotypic traits and, in particular, in identifying genetic factors controlling these traits. It has been previously shown that chromatin compaction changes during development and biotic stress. To gain more insight into the genetic control of chromatin compaction, we investigated the nuclear phenotype of 21 selected Arabidopsis accessions from different geographic origins and habitats. We show natural variation in chromatin compaction and demonstrate a positive correlation with latitude of geographic origin. The level of compaction appeared to be dependent on light intensity. A novel approach, combining Quantitative Trait Locus (QTL) mapping and microscopic examination, pointed at PHYTOCHROME-B (PHYB) and HISTONE DEACETYLASE-6 (HDA6) as positive regulators of light-controlled chromatin compaction. Indeed, mutant analyses demonstrate that both factors affect global chromatin organization. HDA6, in addition, strongly promotes the light-mediated compaction of the Nucleolar Organizing Regions (NORs). The accession Cape Verde Islands-0 (Cvi-0), which shows sequence polymorphism in the PHYB gene and in the HDA6 promotor, resembles the hda6 mutant in having reduced chromatin compaction and decreased methylation levels of DNA and histone H3K9 at the NORs. We provide evidence that chromatin organization is controlled by light intensity. We propose that chromatin plasticity is associated with acclimation of Arabidopsis to its environment. The polymorphic alleles such as PHYB and HDA6 control this process.
The habitat of the plant model species Arabidopsis thaliana can be found throughout the Northern hemisphere. As a consequence, individual populations have acclimated to a great diversity of environmental conditions. This is reflected by a wealth of natural genetic variation in many phenotypic traits. We utilized this natural variation via a novel approach, combining microscopic examination, quantitative genetics, and analysis of environmental parameters, to understand the regulation of nuclear chromatin compaction in leaf mesophyll cells. We show that the level of chromatin compaction among natural Arabidopsis thaliana accessions correlates with latitude of origin and depends on local light intensity. Our study provides evidence that the photoreceptor PHYTOCHROME-B (PHYB) and the histone modifier HISTONE DEACETYLASE 6 (HDA6) are positive regulators of global chromatin organization in a light-dependent manner. In addition, HDA6 specifically controls light-mediated chromatin compaction of the Nucleolar Organizing Regions (NORs). We propose that the observed light-controlled plasticity of chromatin plays a role in acclimation and survival of plants in their natural environment.
The underlying mechanisms for hybrid vigor or heterosis are elusive. Here we report a population of recombinant inbred lines (RILs), derived from the two ecotypes, Col and Ler, which can serve as a permanent resource for studying the molecular basis of hybrid vigor in Arabidopsis. Using a North Carolina mating design III (NCIII), we determined the additive and dominant nature of gene action in this population. We detected heterosis among crosses of RILs with one of the two parents (Col and Ler) and analyzed genotypes and heterozygosities for RILs and test cross families (RILs crossed to Col and Ler) using a total of 446 published molecular markers. The performance of RILs and additive and dominant components in the test cross families were used to analyze QTLs for 16 traits, using QTL cartographer and composite interval mapping with 1,000 permutations for each trait. Our data suggest that locus-specific and/or genome-wide differential heterozygosity, including epistasis, plays an important role in the generation of the observed heterosis. Furthermore, the hybrid vigor occurred between two closely related ecotypes, and provides a general mechanism for novel variation generated between genetically similar materials.
hybrid vigor; heterosis; NCIII design; RILs; Arabidopsis; heterozygosity
When plants become shaded by neighbouring plants, they perceive a decrease in the red/far-red (R/FR) ratio of the light environment, which provides an early and unambiguous warning of the presence of competing vegetation. The mechanistic bases of the natural genetic variation in response to shade signals remain largely unknown. This study demonstrates that a wide range of genetic variation for hypocotyl elongation in response to an FR pulse at the end of day (EOD), a light signal that simulates natural shade, exists between Arabidopsis accessions. A quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping analysis was done in the Bayreuth×Shahdara recombinant inbred line population. EODINDEX1 is the most significant QTL identified in response to EOD. The Shahdara alleles at EODINDEX1 caused a reduced response to shade as a consequence of an impaired hypocotyl inhibition under white light, and an accelerated leaf movement rhythm, which correlated positively with the pattern of circadian expression of clock genes such as PRR7 and PRR9. Genetic and quantitative complementation analyses demonstrated that ELF3 is the most likely candidate gene underlying natural variation at EODINDEX1. In conclusion, ELF3 is proposed as a component of the shade avoidance signalling pathway responsible for the phenotypic differences between Arabidopsis populations in relation to adaptation in a changing light environment.
Arabidopsis thaliana; early flowering 3 (ELF3); end of the day far-red light (EOD); natural genetic variation; quantitative trait locus (QTL); shade avoidance syndrome (SAS)
Multiparallel QTL analysis of 15 Arabidopsis primary carbohydrate metabolism enzymes reveals that traits affecting primary metabolism are often correlated.
Plant primary carbohydrate metabolism is complex and flexible, and is regulated at many levels. Changes of transcript levels do not always lead to changes in enzyme activities, and these do not always affect metabolite levels and fluxes. To analyze interactions between these three levels of function, we have performed parallel genetic analyses of 15 enzyme activities involved in primary carbohydrate metabolism, transcript levels for their encoding structural genes, and a set of relevant metabolites. Quantitative analyses of each trait were performed in the Arabidopsis thaliana Ler × Cvi recombinant inbred line (RIL) population and subjected to correlation and quantitative trait locus (QTL) analysis.
Traits affecting primary metabolism were often correlated, possibly due to developmental control affecting multiple genes, enzymes, or metabolites. Moreover, the activity QTLs of several enzymes co-localized with the expression QTLs (eQTLs) of their structural genes, or with metabolite accumulation QTLs of their substrates or products. In addition, many trait-specific QTLs were identified, revealing that there is also specific regulation of individual metabolic traits. Regulation of enzyme activities often occurred through multiple loci, involving both cis- and trans-acting transcriptional or post-transcriptional control of structural genes, as well as independently of the structural genes.
Future studies of the regulatory processes in primary carbohydrate metabolism will benefit from an integrative genetic analysis of gene transcription, enzyme activity, and metabolite content. The multiparallel QTL analyses of the various interconnected transducers of biological information flow, described here for the first time, can assist in determining the causes and consequences of genetic regulation at different levels of complex biological systems.
QTL (quantitative trait loci) mapping is commonly used to identify genetic regions responsible to important phenotype variation. A common strategy of QTL mapping is to use recombinant inbred lines (RILs), which are usually established by several generations of inbreeding of an F1 population (usually up to F6 or F7 populations). As this inbreeding process involves a large amount of labor, we are particularly interested in the effect of the number of inbreeding generations on the power of QTL mapping; a part of the labor could be saved if a smaller number of inbreeding provides sufficient power. By using simulations, we investigated the performance of QTL mapping with recombinant inbred lines (RILs). As expected, we found that the power of F4 population could be almost comparable to that of F6 and F7 populations. A potential problem in using F4 population is that a large proportion of RILs are heterozygotes. We here introduced a new method to partly relax this problem. The performance of this method was verified by simulations with a wide range of parameters including the size of the segregation population, recombination rate, genome size and the density of markers. We found our method works better than the commonly used standard method especially when there are a number of heterozygous markers. Our results imply that in most cases, QTL mapping does not necessarily require RILs at F6 or F7 generations; rather, F4 (or even F3) populations would be almost as useful as F6 or F7 populations. Because the cost to establish a number of RILs for many generations is enormous, this finding will cause a reduction in the cost of QTL mapping, thereby accelerating gene mapping in many species.
Seed vigor is an important characteristic of seed quality, and rice cultivars with strong seed vigor are desirable in direct-sowing rice production for optimum stand establishment. In the present study, the quantitative trait loci (QTLs) of three traits for rice seed vigor during the germination stage, including germination rate, final germination percentage, and germination index, were investigated using one recombinant inbred line (RIL) population derived from a cross between japonica Daguandao and indica IR28, and using the multiple interval mapping (MIM) approach. The results show that indica rice presented stronger seed vigor during the germination stage than japonica rice. A total of ten QTLs, and at least five novel alleles, were detected to control rice seed vigor, and the amount of variation (R
2) explained by an individual QTL ranged from 7.5% to 68.5%, with three major QTLs with R
2>20%. Most of the QTLs detected here are likely to coincide with QTLs for seed weight, seed size, or seed dormancy, suggesting that the rice seed vigor might be correlated with seed weight, seed size, and seed dormancy. At least five QTLs are novel alleles with no previous reports of seed vigor genes in rice, and those major or minor QTLs could be used to significantly improve the seed vigor by marker-assisted selection (MAS) in rice.
Rice; Recombinant inbred line (RIL) population; Seed vigor; Quantitative trait locus (QTL); Germination
In quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping studies, it is mandatory that the available financial resources are spent in such a way that the power for detection of QTL is maximized. The objective of this study was to optimize for three different fixed budgets the power of QTL detection 1 − β* in recombinant inbred line (RIL) populations derived from a nested design by varying (1) the genetic complexity of the trait, (2) the costs for developing, genotyping, and phenotyping RILs, (3) the total number of RILs, and (4) the number of environments and replications per environment used for phenotyping. Our computer simulations were based on empirical data of 653 single nucleotide polymorphism markers of 26 diverse maize inbred lines which were selected on the basis of 100 simple sequence repeat markers out of a worldwide sample of 260 maize inbreds to capture the maximum genetic diversity. For the standard scenario of costs, the optimum number of test environments (Eopt) ranged across the examined total budgets from 7 to 19 in the scenarios with 25 QTL. In comparison, the Eopt values observed for the scenarios with 50 and 100 QTL were slightly higher. Our finding of differences in 1 − β* estimates between experiments with optimally and sub-optimally allocated resources illustrated the potential to improve the power for QTL detection without increasing the total resources necessary for a QTL mapping experiment. Furthermore, the results of our study indicated that also in studies using the latest genomics tools to dissect quantitative traits, it is required to evaluate the individuals of the mapping population in a high number of environments with a high number of replications per environment.
Flowering time in Arabidopsis thaliana is controlled by a large number of genes and various environmental factors, such as light and temperature. The objective of this study was to identify flowering time quantitative trait loci (QTL) under growth conditions simulating seasonal conditions from native geographic locations. Our growth chambers were set to simulate the spring conditions in Spain and Sweden, with appropriate changes in light color, intensity and day length, as well as temperature and relative humidity. Thus the Sweden-like spring conditions changed more dramatically compared to Spain-like spring conditions across the duration of our experiment. We have used these conditions to map QTL responsible for flowering time in the Kas-1/Col-gl1 recombinant inbred lines (RILs) across two replicate blocks. A linkage map from 96 RILs was established using 119 markers including 64 new SNPs markers. One major QTL, mapping to the FRIGIDA (FRI) locus, was detected on the top of chromosome 4 that showed significant gene×seasonal environment interactions. Three other minor QTL also were detected. One QTL mapping near FLOWERING LOCUS M (FLM) showed an epistatic interaction with the QTL at FRI. These QTL×environment and QTL×QTL interactions suggest that subtle ecologically relevant changes in light, temperature, and relative humidity are differentially felt by alleles controlling flowering time and may be responsible for adaptation to regional environments.