PMCC PMCC

Search tips
Search criteria

Advanced
Results 1-25 (843517)

Clipboard (0)
None

Related Articles

1.  Construction of Chromosome Segment Substitution Lines in Peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.) Using a Wild Synthetic and QTL Mapping for Plant Morphology 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(11):e48642.
Chromosome segment substitution lines (CSSLs) are powerful QTL mapping populations that have been used to elucidate the molecular basis of interesting traits of wild species. Cultivated peanut is an allotetraploid with limited genetic diversity. Capturing the genetic diversity from peanut wild relatives is an important objective in many peanut breeding programs. In this study, we used a marker-assisted backcrossing strategy to produce a population of 122 CSSLs from the cross between the wild synthetic allotetraploid (A. ipaënsis×A. duranensis)4x and the cultivated Fleur11 variety. The 122 CSSLs offered a broad coverage of the peanut genome, with target wild chromosome segments averaging 39.2 cM in length. As a demonstration of the utility of these lines, four traits were evaluated in a subset of 80 CSSLs. A total of 28 lines showed significant differences from Fleur11. The line×trait significant associations were assigned to 42 QTLs: 14 for plant growth habit, 15 for height of the main stem, 12 for plant spread and one for flower color. Among the 42 QTLs, 37 were assigned to genomic regions and three QTL positions were considered putative. One important finding arising from this QTL analysis is that peanut growth habit is a complex trait that is governed by several QTLs with different effects. The CSSL population developed in this study has proved efficient for deciphering the molecular basis of trait variations and will be useful to the peanut scientific community for future QTL mapping studies.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0048642
PMCID: PMC3501512  PMID: 23185268
2.  A high-density genetic map of Arachis duranensis, a diploid ancestor of cultivated peanut 
BMC Genomics  2012;13:469.
Background
Cultivated peanut (Arachis hypogaea) is an allotetraploid species whose ancestral genomes are most likely derived from the A-genome species, A. duranensis, and the B-genome species, A. ipaensis. The very recent (several millennia) evolutionary origin of A. hypogaea has imposed a bottleneck for allelic and phenotypic diversity within the cultigen. However, wild diploid relatives are a rich source of alleles that could be used for crop improvement and their simpler genomes can be more easily analyzed while providing insight into the structure of the allotetraploid peanut genome. The objective of this research was to establish a high-density genetic map of the diploid species A. duranensis based on de novo generated EST databases. Arachis duranensis was chosen for mapping because it is the A-genome progenitor of cultivated peanut and also in order to circumvent the confounding effects of gene duplication associated with allopolyploidy in A. hypogaea.
Results
More than one million expressed sequence tag (EST) sequences generated from normalized cDNA libraries of A. duranensis were assembled into 81,116 unique transcripts. Mining this dataset, 1236 EST-SNP markers were developed between two A. duranensis accessions, PI 475887 and Grif 15036. An additional 300 SNP markers also were developed from genomic sequences representing conserved legume orthologs. Of the 1536 SNP markers, 1054 were placed on a genetic map. In addition, 598 EST-SSR markers identified in A. hypogaea assemblies were included in the map along with 37 disease resistance gene candidate (RGC) and 35 other previously published markers. In total, 1724 markers spanning 1081.3 cM over 10 linkage groups were mapped. Gene sequences that provided mapped markers were annotated using similarity searches in three different databases, and gene ontology descriptions were determined using the Medicago Gene Atlas and TAIR databases. Synteny analysis between A. duranensis, Medicago and Glycine revealed significant stretches of conserved gene clusters spread across the peanut genome. A higher level of colinearity was detected between A. duranensis and Glycine than with Medicago.
Conclusions
The first high-density, gene-based linkage map for A. duranensis was generated that can serve as a reference map for both wild and cultivated Arachis species. The markers developed here are valuable resources for the peanut, and more broadly, to the legume research community. The A-genome map will have utility for fine mapping in other peanut species and has already had application for mapping a nematode resistance gene that was introgressed into A. hypogaea from A. cardenasii.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-13-469
PMCID: PMC3542255  PMID: 22967170
3.  Identification of several small main-effect QTLs and a large number of epistatic QTLs for drought tolerance related traits in groundnut (Arachishypogaea L.) 
Cultivated groundnut or peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.), an allotetraploid (2n = 4x = 40), is a self pollinated and widely grown crop in the semi-arid regions of the world. Improvement of drought tolerance is an important area of research for groundnut breeding programmes. Therefore, for the identification of candidate QTLs for drought tolerance, a comprehensive and refined genetic map containing 191 SSR loci based on a single mapping population (TAG 24 × ICGV 86031), segregating for drought and surrogate traits was developed. Genotyping data and phenotyping data collected for more than ten drought related traits in 2–3 seasons were analyzed in detail for identification of main effect QTLs (M-QTLs) and epistatic QTLs (E-QTLs) using QTL Cartographer, QTLNetwork and Genotype Matrix Mapping (GMM) programmes. A total of 105 M-QTLs with 3.48–33.36% phenotypic variation explained (PVE) were identified using QTL Cartographer, while only 65 M-QTLs with 1.3–15.01% PVE were identified using QTLNetwork. A total of 53 M-QTLs were such which were identified using both programmes. On the other hand, GMM identified 186 (8.54–44.72% PVE) and 63 (7.11–21.13% PVE), three and two loci interactions, whereas only 8 E-QTL interactions with 1.7–8.34% PVE were identified through QTLNetwork. Interestingly a number of co-localized QTLs controlling 2–9 traits were also identified. The identification of few major, many minor M-QTLs and QTL × QTL interactions during the present study confirmed the complex and quantitative nature of drought tolerance in groundnut. This study suggests deployment of modern approaches like marker-assisted recurrent selection or genomic selection instead of marker-assisted backcrossing approach for breeding for drought tolerance in groundnut.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00122-010-1517-0) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1007/s00122-010-1517-0
PMCID: PMC3057011  PMID: 21191568
Peanut; Drought tolerance; Genetic map; Molecular markers; Main-effect QTLs; Epistatic QTLs; Molecular breeding
4.  Genome Dissection of Traits Related to Domestication in Azuki Bean (Vigna angularis) and Comparison with other Warm-season Legumes 
Annals of Botany  2007;100(5):1053-1071.
Background
The objective of this study was to dissect into quantitative trait loci (QTLs) the large morphological and physiological differences between cultivated azuki bean (Vigna angularis) and a wild relative and to infer the commonalities of the QTLs for domestication-related traits across the Asian Vigna and with other warm-season legumes.
Methods
Two linkage maps, for the BC1F1 and F2 populations, respectively, from the same cross between azuki bean and V. nepalensis were developed. Using these linkage maps QTLs for 33 domestication-related traits were analysed and mapped. The location of mapped QTLs was compared with locations of similar QTLs in other warm-season legumes.
Key Results
QTLs were detected for seed-, pod-, stem- and leaf-related traits. Most traits were controlled by between two and nine QTLs but several traits, such as pod dehiscence, were controlled by single genes. QTLs for domestication-related traits were restricted to particular regions of the azuki bean genome, especially linkage groups 1, 2, 4, 7 and 9. Linkage groups 1 and 2 had QTLs for a suite of traits including pod size, germination, seed size and lower stem length. QTLs on linkage groups 7 and 9 were associated with upper stem length, maximum leaf size and pod and seed size. Pleiotropy or close linkage of genes for domestication-related traits is suggested in these regions. While some QTLs are common to azuki bean and other warm-season legumes, many are recorded for the first time in azuki bean.
Conclusions
QTLs for a large number of domestication-related traits have been mapped for the first time in azuki bean. QTLs with unexpected effect and new QTLs for traits such as seed size have been found. The results provide a foundation that will be useful for improvement of azuki bean and related legumes.
doi:10.1093/aob/mcm155
PMCID: PMC2759210  PMID: 17728336
Azuki bean; Vigna angularis var. angularis; Vigna nepalensis; wild species; QTL; microsatellite
5.  Genetic diversity of peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.) and its wild relatives based on the analysis of hypervariable regions of the genome 
BMC Plant Biology  2004;4:11.
Background
The genus Arachis is native to a region that includes Central Brazil and neighboring countries. Little is known about the genetic variability of the Brazilian cultivated peanut (Arachis hypogaea, genome AABB) germplasm collection at the DNA level. The understanding of the genetic diversity of cultivated and wild species of peanut (Arachis spp.) is essential to develop strategies of collection, conservation and use of the germplasm in variety development. The identity of the ancestor progenitor species of cultivated peanut has also been of great interest. Several species have been suggested as putative AA and BB genome donors to allotetraploid A. hypogaea. Microsatellite or SSR (Simple Sequence Repeat) markers are co-dominant, multiallelic, and highly polymorphic genetic markers, appropriate for genetic diversity studies. Microsatellite markers may also, to some extent, support phylogenetic inferences. Here we report the use of a set of microsatellite markers, including newly developed ones, for phylogenetic inferences and the analysis of genetic variation of accessions of A. hypogea and its wild relatives.
Results
A total of 67 new microsatellite markers (mainly TTG motif) were developed for Arachis. Only three of these markers, however, were polymorphic in cultivated peanut. These three new markers plus five other markers characterized previously were evaluated for number of alleles per locus and gene diversity using 60 accessions of A. hypogaea. Genetic relationships among these 60 accessions and a sample of 36 wild accessions representative of section Arachis were estimated using allelic variation observed in a selected set of 12 SSR markers. Results showed that the Brazilian peanut germplasm collection has considerable levels of genetic diversity detected by SSR markers. Similarity groups for A. hypogaea accessions were established, which is a useful criteria for selecting parental plants for crop improvement. Microsatellite marker transferability was up to 76% for species of the section Arachis, but only 45% for species from the other eight Arachis sections tested. A new marker (Ah-041) presented a 100% transferability and could be used to classify the peanut accessions in AA and non-AA genome carriers.
Conclusion
The level of polymorphism observed among accessions of A. hypogaea analyzed with newly developed microsatellite markers was low, corroborating the accumulated data which show that cultivated peanut presents a relatively reduced variation at the DNA level. A selected panel of SSR markers allowed the classification of A. hypogaea accessions into two major groups. The identification of similarity groups will be useful for the selection of parental plants to be used in breeding programs. Marker transferability is relatively high between accessions of section Arachis. The possibility of using microsatellite markers developed for one species in genetic evaluation of other species greatly reduces the cost of the analysis, since the development of microsatellite markers is still expensive and time consuming. The SSR markers developed in this study could be very useful for genetic analysis of wild species of Arachis, including comparative genome mapping, population genetic structure and phylogenetic inferences among species.
doi:10.1186/1471-2229-4-11
PMCID: PMC491793  PMID: 15253775
6.  BAC libraries construction from the ancestral diploid genomes of the allotetraploid cultivated peanut 
BMC Plant Biology  2008;8:14.
Background
Cultivated peanut, Arachis hypogaea is an allotetraploid of recent origin, with an AABB genome. In common with many other polyploids, it seems that a severe genetic bottle-neck was imposed at the species origin, via hybridisation of two wild species and spontaneous chromosome duplication. Therefore, the study of the genome of peanut is hampered both by the crop's low genetic diversity and its polyploidy. In contrast to cultivated peanut, most wild Arachis species are diploid with high genetic diversity. The study of diploid Arachis genomes is therefore attractive, both to simplify the construction of genetic and physical maps, and for the isolation and characterization of wild alleles. The most probable wild ancestors of cultivated peanut are A. duranensis and A. ipaënsis with genome types AA and BB respectively.
Results
We constructed and characterized two large-insert libraries in Bacterial Artificial Chromosome (BAC) vector, one for each of the diploid ancestral species. The libraries (AA and BB) are respectively c. 7.4 and c. 5.3 genome equivalents with low organelle contamination and average insert sizes of 110 and 100 kb. Both libraries were used for the isolation of clones containing genetically mapped legume anchor markers (single copy genes), and resistance gene analogues.
Conclusion
These diploid BAC libraries are important tools for the isolation of wild alleles conferring resistances to biotic stresses, comparisons of orthologous regions of the AA and BB genomes with each other and with other legume species, and will facilitate the construction of a physical map.
doi:10.1186/1471-2229-8-14
PMCID: PMC2254395  PMID: 18230166
7.  Wild barley introgression lines revealed novel QTL alleles for root and related shoot traits in the cultivated barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) 
BMC Genetics  2014;15(1):107.
Background
Root is the prime organ that sucks water and nutrients from deep layer of soil. Wild barley diversity exhibits remarkable variation in root system architecture that seems crucial in its adaptation to abiotic stresses like drought. In the present study, we performed quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping of root and related shoot traits under control and drought conditions using a population of wild barley introgression lines (ILs). This population (S42IL) comprising of genome-wide introgressions of wild barley accession ISR42-8 in the cultivar Scarlett background. Here, we aimed to detect novel QTL alleles for improved root and related shoot features and to introduce them in modern cultivars.
Results
The cultivar Scarlett and wild barley accession ISR42-8 revealed significant variation of root and related shoot traits. ISR42-8 showed a higher performance in root system attributes like root dry weight (RDW), root volume (RV), root length (RL) and tiller number per plant (TIL) than Scarlett. Whereas, Scarlett exhibited erect type growth habit (GH) as compared to spreading growth habit in ISR42-8. The S42IL population revealed significant and wide range of variation for the investigated traits. Strong positive correlations were found among the root related traits whereas GH revealed negative correlation with root and shoot traits. The trait-wise comparison of phenotypic data with the ILs genetic map revealed six, eight, five, five and four QTL for RL, RDW, RV, TIL and GH, respectively. These QTL were linked to one or several traits simultaneously and localized to 15 regions across all chromosomes. Among these, beneficial QTL alleles of wild origin for RL, RDW, RV, TIL and GH, have been fixed in the cultivar Scarlett background.
Conclusions
The present study revealed 15 chromosomal regions where the exotic QTL alleles showed improvement for root and related shoot traits. These data suggest that wild barley accession ISR42-8 bears alleles different from those of Scarlett. Hence, the utility of genome-wide wild barley introgression lines is desirable to test the performance of individual exotic alleles in the elite gene pool as well as to transfer them in the cultivated germplasm.
doi:10.1186/s12863-014-0107-6
PMCID: PMC4200126  PMID: 25286820
QTL analysis; Introgression lines; Root traits; Drought stress; Wild barley
8.  Growth-related quantitative trait loci in domestic and wild rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) 
BMC Genetics  2010;11:63.
Background
Somatic growth is a complex process that involves the action and interaction of genes and environment. A number of quantitative trait loci (QTL) previously identified for body weight and condition factor in rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss), and two other salmonid species, were used to further investigate the genetic architecture of growth-influencing genes in this species. Relationships among previously mapped candidate genes for growth and their co-localization to identified QTL regions are reported. Furthermore, using a comparative genomic analysis of syntenic rainbow trout linkage group clusters to their homologous regions within model teleost species such as zebrafish, stickleback and medaka, inferences were made regarding additional possible candidate genes underlying identified QTL regions.
Results
Body weight (BW) QTL were detected on the majority of rainbow trout linkage groups across 10 parents from 3 strains. However, only 10 linkage groups (i.e., RT-3, -6, -8, -9, -10, -12, -13, -22, -24, -27) possessed QTL regions with chromosome-wide or genome-wide effects across multiple parents. Fewer QTL for condition factor (K) were identified and only six instances of co-localization across families were detected (i.e. RT-9, -15, -16, -23, -27, -31 and RT-2/9 homeologs). Of note, both BW and K QTL co-localize on RT-9 and RT-27. The incidence of epistatic interaction across genomic regions within different female backgrounds was also examined, and although evidence for interaction effects within certain QTL regions were evident, these interactions were few in number and statistically weak. Of interest, however, was the fact that these predominantly occurred within K QTL regions. Currently mapped growth candidate genes are largely congruent with the identified QTL regions. More QTL were detected in male, compared to female parents, with the greatest number evident in an F1 male parent derived from an intercross between domesticated and wild strain of rainbow trout which differed strongly in growth rate.
Conclusions
Strain background influences the degree to which QTL effects are evident for growth-related genes. The process of domestication (which primarily selects faster growing fish) may largely reduce the genetic influences on growth-specific phenotypic variation. Although heritabilities have been reported to be relatively high for both BW and K growth traits, the genetic architecture of K phenotypic variation appears less defined (i.e., fewer major contributing QTL regions were identified compared with BW QTL regions).
doi:10.1186/1471-2156-11-63
PMCID: PMC2914766  PMID: 20609225
9.  Different sets of QTLs influence fitness variation in yeast 
We have carried out a combination of in-lab-evolution (ILE) and congenic crosses to identify the gene sets that contribute to the ability of yeast cells to survive under alkali stress.Each selected line acquired a different set of mutations, all resulting in the same phenotype. We identified a total of 15 genes in ILE and 17 candidates in the congenic approach, and studied their individual contribution to the phenotype.The total additive effect of the QTLs was much larger than the difference between the ancestor and the evolved strains, suggesting epistatic interactions between the QTLs.None of the genes identified encode structural components of the pH machinery. Instead, most encode regulatory functions, such as ubiquitin ligases, chromatin remodelers, GPI anchoring and copper/iron sensing transcription factors.
The majority of phenotypes in nature are complex traits affected by multiple genes [usually called quantitative trait loci (QTLs)], as well as by environmental factors. Many traits with practical importance such as crop yield in plants and susceptibility to various diseases in humans fall under this category. Understanding the architecture of complex traits has become the new frontier of genetic research, and many studies have greatly contributed to this field. However, to date, the genetic basis of only a few of these traits has been identified, and many questions regarding the architecture of complex traits and the accumulation of QTLs during evolution still remain unanswered. Among them are: How many QTLs affect complex phenotypes? What is the effect of each QTL? How do complex traits change during evolution? Is the adaptation process repeatable?, etc. In order to identify the QTLs that affect one of the important components of fitness variability in yeast, and to answer some of the questions above, we combined in-lab evolution (ILE) with the construction of congenic lines to isolate and map several gene sets that contribute to the ability of yeast cells to survive under alkali stress.
We carried out an ILE experiment, in which we grew yeast populations under increasing alkali stress to enrich for beneficial mutations. This process was followed by hybridizations to tiling arrays to identify the mutations acquired during the laboratory selective process. The ILE procedure revealed mutations in 15 genes, thus defining the QTLs and mechanisms that affect, in a quantitative fashion, the ability to cope with alkali stress. Our results indicate that during ILE several populations acquired different sets of QTLs that conferred the same phenotype. We identified each individual mutation in these strains, and validated and estimated their contribution to the phenotype. The total additive effect of the QTLs was much larger than the difference between the ancestor and the evolved strains, suggesting epistatic interactions between the QTLs.
In addition to the ILE, we have studied the mechanisms regulating fitness under alkali stress at natural habitats. We used a clinically isolated strain able to grow at high pH and a standard laboratory strain with a limited ability to sustain high pH as the parents of series of backcrosses to construct congenic lines up to the 8th generation. Seventeen genomic intervals that are candidates to contain QTLs were thus identified. In order to detect the contributing QTL in each interval, a predictive algorithm was applied, which scored the candidate genes in each genomic interval based on their interactions and similarity to the ILE genes. The algorithm was validated by testing the effect of the predicted candidate gene's deletions on the phenotype. Twelve out of 29 deletions were found to affect the trait (P-value 0.023).
Interestingly, our results show that almost all beneficial mutations affected regulatory genes, and not structural components of the pH homeostasis machinery (such as proton pumps, which control the cell's pH). The genes identified affect global regulators, such as ubiquitin ligases, proteins involved in GPI anchoring, copper sensing and chromatin remodelers. Thus, we show that adaptive changes tend to occur in genes with wide influence, rather than in genes narrowly affecting the phenotype selected for.
One example of genes identified both in the ILE and in the congenic lines is the copper-sensing transcription factor MAC1, and its downstream targets CTR1 and CTR3, which encode copper transporters. Different mutations at the same residue (Cys 271) were found in four out of five independent ILE lines. These mutations inactivate a copper-sensing region of Mac1 and cause up-regulation of its target genes. The CTR1 and CTR3 genes were identified in the congenic lines. Moreover, we found that a Ty transposable element is responsible for the decreased expression of CTR3 in some strains, and its excision caused transcriptional activation, affecting the ability to thrive at high pH.
This work provides insights on both evolutionary and genetic issues (such as the appearance of adaptive mutations and the architecture of complex traits), while at the same time providing information about the mechanisms that contribute to growth at high pH, a subject with ramifications for cell physiology, pathogenicity, and stress response.
Most of the phenotypes in nature are complex and are determined by many quantitative trait loci (QTLs). In this study we identify gene sets that contribute to one important complex trait: the ability of yeast cells to survive under alkali stress. We carried out an in-lab evolution (ILE) experiment, in which we grew yeast populations under increasing alkali stress to enrich for beneficial mutations. The populations acquired different sets of affecting alleles, showing that evolution can provide alternative solutions to the same challenge. We measured the contribution of each allele to the phenotype. The sum of the effects of the QTLs was larger than the difference between the ancestor phenotype and the evolved strains, suggesting epistatic interactions between the QTLs. In parallel, a clinical isolated strain was used to map natural QTLs affecting growth at high pH. In all, 17 candidate regions were found. Using a predictive algorithm based on the distances in protein-interaction networks, candidate genes were defined and validated by gene disruption. Many of the QTLs found by both methods are not directly implied in pH homeostasis but have more general, and often regulatory, roles.
doi:10.1038/msb.2010.1
PMCID: PMC2835564  PMID: 20160707
congenic lines; growth on alkali; in-lab evolution; QTL mapping; Saccharomyces cerevisiae
10.  Identification of QTLs associated with oil content and mapping FAD2 genes and their relative contribution to oil quality in peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.) 
BMC Genetics  2014;15(1):133.
Background
Peanut is one of the major source for human consumption worldwide and its seed contain approximately 50% oil. Improvement of oil content and quality traits (high oleic and low linoleic acid) in peanut could be accelerated by exploiting linked markers through molecular breeding. The objective of this study was to identify QTLs associated with oil content, and estimate relative contribution of FAD2 genes (ahFAD2A and ahFAD2B) to oil quality traits in two recombinant inbred line (RIL) populations.
Results
Improved genetic linkage maps were developed for S-population (SunOleic 97R × NC94022) with 206 (1780.6 cM) and T-population (Tifrunner × GT-C20) with 378 (2487.4 cM) marker loci. A total of 6 and 9 QTLs controlling oil content were identified in the S- and T-population, respectively. The contribution of each QTL towards oil content variation ranged from 3.07 to 10.23% in the S-population and from 3.93 to 14.07% in the T-population. The mapping positions for ahFAD2A (A sub-genome) and ahFAD2B (B sub-genome) genes were assigned on a09 and b09 linkage groups. The ahFAD2B gene (26.54%, 25.59% and 41.02% PVE) had higher phenotypic effect on oleic acid (C18:1), linoleic acid (C18:2), and oleic/linoleic acid ratio (O/L ratio) than ahFAD2A gene (8.08%, 6.86% and 3.78% PVE). The FAD2 genes had no effect on oil content. This study identified a total of 78 main-effect QTLs (M-QTLs) with up to 42.33% phenotypic variation (PVE) and 10 epistatic QTLs (E-QTLs) up to 3.31% PVE for oil content and quality traits.
Conclusions
A total of 78 main-effect QTLs (M-QTLs) and 10 E-QTLs have been detected for oil content and oil quality traits. One major QTL (more than 10% PVE) was identified in both the populations for oil content with source alleles from NC94022 and GT-C20 parental genotypes. FAD2 genes showed high effect for oleic acid (C18:1), linoleic acid (C18:2), and O/L ratio while no effect on total oil content. The information on phenotypic effect of FAD2 genes for oleic acid, linoleic acid and O/L ratio, and oil content will be applied in breeding selection.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12863-014-0133-4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/s12863-014-0133-4
PMCID: PMC4278341  PMID: 25491595
Peanut; Genetic map; QTL analysis; Oil content; Oleic acid; Linoleic acid; O/L ratio; FAD2 genes
11.  Genetic mapping of wild introgressions into cultivated peanut: a way toward enlarging the genetic basis of a recent allotetraploid 
BMC Plant Biology  2009;9:103.
Background
Peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.) is widely used as a food and cash crop around the world. It is considered to be an allotetraploid (2n = 4x = 40) originated from a single hybridization event between two wild diploids. The most probable hypothesis gave A. duranensis as the wild donor of the A genome and A. ipaënsis as the wild donor of the B genome. A low level of molecular polymorphism is found in cultivated germplasm and up to date few genetic linkage maps have been published. The utilization of wild germplasm in breeding programs has received little attention due to the reproductive barriers between wild and cultivated species and to the technical difficulties encountered in making large number of crosses. We report here the development of a SSR based genetic map and the analysis of genome-wide segment introgressions into the background of a cultivated variety through the utilization of a synthetic amphidiploid between A. duranensis and A. ipaënsis.
Results
Two hundred ninety eight (298) loci were mapped in 21 linkage groups (LGs), spanning a total map distance of 1843.7 cM with an average distance of 6.1 cM between adjacent markers. The level of polymorphism observed between the parent of the amphidiploid and the cultivated variety is consistent with A. duranensis and A. ipaënsis being the most probable donor of the A and B genomes respectively. The synteny analysis between the A and B genomes revealed an overall good collinearity of the homeologous LGs. The comparison with the diploid and tetraploid maps shed new light on the evolutionary forces that contributed to the divergence of the A and B genome species and raised the question of the classification of the B genome species. Structural modifications such as chromosomal segment inversions and a major translocation event prior to the tetraploidisation of the cultivated species were revealed. Marker assisted selection of BC1F1 and then BC2F1 lines carrying the desirable donor segment with the best possible return to the background of the cultivated variety provided a set of lines offering an optimal distribution of the wild introgressions.
Conclusion
The genetic map developed, allowed the synteny analysis of the A and B genomes, the comparison with diploid and tetraploid maps and the analysis of the introgression segments from the wild synthetic into the background of a cultivated variety. The material we have produced in this study should facilitate the development of advanced backcross and CSSL breeding populations for the improvement of cultivated peanut.
doi:10.1186/1471-2229-9-103
PMCID: PMC3091533  PMID: 19650911
12.  Synthesis of 53 tissue and cell line expression QTL datasets reveals master eQTLs 
BMC Genomics  2014;15(1):532.
Background
Gene expression genetic studies in human tissues and cells identify cis- and trans-acting expression quantitative trait loci (eQTLs). These eQTLs provide insights into regulatory mechanisms underlying disease risk. However, few studies systematically characterized eQTL results across cell and tissues types. We synthesized eQTL results from >50 datasets, including new primary data from human brain, peripheral plaque and kidney samples, in order to discover features of human eQTLs.
Results
We find a substantial number of robust cis-eQTLs and far fewer trans-eQTLs consistent across tissues. Analysis of 45 full human GWAS scans indicates eQTLs are enriched overall, and above nSNPs, among positive statistical signals in genetic mapping studies, and account for a significant fraction of the strongest human trait effects. Expression QTLs are enriched for gene centricity, higher population allele frequencies, in housekeeping genes, and for coincidence with regulatory features, though there is little evidence of 5′ or 3′ positional bias. Several regulatory categories are not enriched including microRNAs and their predicted binding sites and long, intergenic non-coding RNAs. Among the most tissue-ubiquitous cis-eQTLs, there is enrichment for genes involved in xenobiotic metabolism and mitochondrial function, suggesting these eQTLs may have adaptive origins. Several strong eQTLs (CDK5RAP2, NBPFs) coincide with regions of reported human lineage selection. The intersection of new kidney and plaque eQTLs with related GWAS suggest possible gene prioritization. For example, butyrophilins are now linked to arterial pathogenesis via multiple genetic and expression studies. Expression QTL and GWAS results are made available as a community resource through the NHLBI GRASP database [http://apps.nhlbi.nih.gov/grasp/].
Conclusions
Expression QTLs inform the interpretation of human trait variability, and may account for a greater fraction of phenotypic variability than protein-coding variants. The synthesis of available tissue eQTL data highlights many strong cis-eQTLs that may have important biologic roles and could serve as positive controls in future studies. Our results indicate some strong tissue-ubiquitous eQTLs may have adaptive origins in humans. Efforts to expand the genetic, splicing and tissue coverage of known eQTLs will provide further insights into human gene regulation.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-532) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-532
PMCID: PMC4102726  PMID: 24973796
eQTL; RNA; Gene expression; Genomics; Transcriptome; GWAS; Genome-wide; Tissue; Cis; Trans
13.  Identifying the genetic determinants of transcription factor activity 
Genome-wide messenger RNA expression levels are highly heritable. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying this heritability are poorly understood.The influence of trans-acting polymorphisms is often mediated by changes in the regulatory activity of one or more sequence-specific transcription factors (TFs). We use a method that exploits prior information about the DNA-binding specificity of each TF to estimate its genotype-specific regulatory activity. To this end, we perform linear regression of genotype-specific differential mRNA expression on TF-specific promoter-binding affinity.Treating inferred TF activity as a quantitative trait and mapping it across a panel of segregants from an experimental genetic cross allows us to identify trans-acting loci (‘aQTLs') whose allelic variation modulates the TF. A few of these aQTL regions contain the gene encoding the TF itself; several others contain a gene whose protein product is known to interact with the TF.Our method is strictly causal, as it only uses sequence-based features as predictors. Application to budding yeast demonstrates a dramatic increase in statistical power, compared with existing methods, to detect locus-TF associations and trans-acting loci. Our aQTL mapping strategy also succeeds in mouse.
Genetic sequence variation naturally perturbs mRNA expression levels in the cell. In recent years, analysis of parallel genotyping and expression profiling data for segregants from genetic crosses between parental strains has revealed that mRNA expression levels are highly heritable. Expression quantitative trait loci (eQTLs), whose allelic variation regulates the expression level of individual genes, have successfully been identified (Brem et al, 2002; Schadt et al, 2003). The molecular mechanisms underlying the heritability of mRNA expression are poorly understood. However, they are likely to involve mediation by transcription factors (TFs). We present a new transcription-factor-centric method that greatly increases our ability to understand what drives the genetic variation in mRNA expression (Figure 1). Our method identifies genomic loci (‘aQTLs') whose allelic variation modulates the protein-level activity of specific TFs. To map aQTLs, we integrate genotyping and expression profiling data with quantitative prior information about DNA-binding specificity of transcription factors in the form of position-specific affinity matrices (Bussemaker et al, 2007). We applied our method in two different organisms: budding yeast and mouse.
In our approach, the inferred TF activity is explicitly treated as a quantitative trait, and genetically mapped. The decrease of ‘phenotype space' from that of all genes (in the eQTL approach) to that of all TFs (in our aQTL approach) increases the statistical power to detect trans-acting loci in two distinct ways. First, as each inferred TF activity is derived from a large number of genes, it is far less noisy than mRNA levels of individual genes. Second, the number of trait/marker combinations that needs to be tested for statistical significance in parallel is roughly two orders of magnitude smaller than for eQTLs. We identified a total of 103 locus-TF associations, a more than six-fold improvement over the 17 locus-TF associations identified by several existing methods (Brem et al, 2002; Yvert et al, 2003; Lee et al, 2006; Smith and Kruglyak, 2008; Zhu et al, 2008). The total number of distinct genomic loci identified as an aQTL equals 31, which includes 11 of the 13 previously identified eQTL hotspots (Smith and Kruglyak, 2008).
To better understand the mechanisms underlying the identified genetic linkages, we examined the genes within each aQTL region. First, we found four ‘local' aQTLs, which encompass the gene encoding the TF itself. This includes the known polymorphism in the HAP1 gene (Brem et al, 2002), but also novel predictions of trans-acting polymorphisms in RFX1, STB5, and HAP4. Second, using high-throughput protein–protein interaction data, we identified putative causal genes for several aQTLs. For example, we predict that a polymorphism in the cyclin-dependent kinase CDC28 antagonistically modulates the functionally distinct cell cycle regulators Fkh1 and Fkh2. In this and other cases, our approach naturally accounts for post-translational modulation of TF activity at the protein level.
We validated our ability to predict locus-TF associations in yeast using gene expression profiles of allele replacement strains from a previous study (Smith and Kruglyak, 2008). Chromosome 15 contains an aQTL whose allelic status influences the activity of no fewer than 30 distinct TFs. This locus includes IRA2, which controls intracellular cAMP levels. We used the gene expression profile of IRA2 replacement strains to confirm that the polymorphism within IRA2 indeed modulates a subset of the TFs whose activity was predicted to link to this locus, and no other TFs.
Application of our approach to mouse data identified an aQTL modulating the activity of a specific TF in liver cells. We identified an aQTL on mouse chromosome 7 for Zscan4, a transcription factor containing four zinc finger domains and a SCAN domain. Even though we could not detect a candidate causal gene for Zscan4p because of lack of information about the mouse genome, our result demonstrates that our method also works in higher eukaryotes.
In summary, aQTL mapping has a greatly improved sensitivity to detect molecular mechanisms underlying the heritability of gene expression. The successful application of our approach to yeast and mouse data underscores the value of explicitly treating the inferred TF activity as a quantitative trait for increasing statistical power of detecting trans-acting loci. Furthermore, our method is computationally efficient, and easily applicable to any other organism whenever prior information about the DNA-binding specificity of TFs is available.
Analysis of parallel genotyping and expression profiling data has shown that mRNA expression levels are highly heritable. Currently, only a tiny fraction of this genetic variance can be mechanistically accounted for. The influence of trans-acting polymorphisms on gene expression traits is often mediated by transcription factors (TFs). We present a method that exploits prior knowledge about the in vitro DNA-binding specificity of a TF in order to map the loci (‘aQTLs') whose inheritance modulates its protein-level regulatory activity. Genome-wide regression of differential mRNA expression on predicted promoter affinity is used to estimate segregant-specific TF activity, which is subsequently mapped as a quantitative phenotype. In budding yeast, our method identifies six times as many locus-TF associations and more than twice as many trans-acting loci as all existing methods combined. Application to mouse data from an F2 intercross identified an aQTL on chromosome VII modulating the activity of Zscan4 in liver cells. Our method has greatly improved statistical power over existing methods, is mechanism based, strictly causal, computationally efficient, and generally applicable.
doi:10.1038/msb.2010.64
PMCID: PMC2964119  PMID: 20865005
gene expression; gene regulatory networks; genetic variation; quantitative trait loci; transcription factors
14.  QTL Mapping of Domestication-related Traits in Soybean (Glycine max) 
Annals of Botany  2007;100(5):1027-1038.
Background and Aims
Understanding the genetic basis underlying domestication-related traits (DRTs) is important in order to use wild germplasm efficiently for improving yield, stress tolerance and quality of crops. This study was conducted to characterize the genetic basis of DRTs in soybean (Glycine max) using quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping.
Methods
A population of 96 recombinant inbred lines derived from a cultivated (ssp. max) × wild (ssp. soja) cross was used for mapping and QTL analysis. Nine DRTs were examined in 2004 and 2005. A linkage map was constructed with 282 markers by the Kosambi function, and the QTL was detected by composite interval mapping.
Key Results
The early flowering and determinate habit derived from the max parent were each controlled by one major QTL, corresponding to the major genes for maturity (e1) and determinate habit (dt1), respectively. There were only one or two significant QTLs for twinning habit, pod dehiscence, seed weight and hard seededness, which each accounted for approx. 20–50 % of the total variance. A comparison with the QTLs detected previously indicated that in pod dehiscence and hard seededness, at least one major QTL was common across different crosses, whereas no such consistent QTL existed for seed weight.
Conclusions
Most of the DRTs in soybeans were conditioned by one or two major QTLs and a number of genotype-dependent minor QTLs. The common major QTLs identified in pod dehiscence and hard seededness may have been key loci in the domestication of soybean. The evolutionary changes toward larger seed may have occurred through the accumulation of minor changes at many QTLs. Since the major QTLs for DRTs were scattered across only six of the 20 linkage groups, and since the QTLs were not clustered, introgression of useful genes from wild to cultivated soybeans can be carried out without large obstacles.
doi:10.1093/aob/mcm149
PMCID: PMC2759197  PMID: 17684023
Soybean; Glycine max; domestication related traits; QTL; hard seededness; seed size; pod dehiscence; twinning habit
15.  The genetics of domestication of yardlong bean, Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp. ssp. unguiculata cv.-gr. sesquipedalis 
Annals of Botany  2012;109(6):1185-1200.
Background and Aims
The genetics of domestication of yardlong bean [Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp. ssp. unguiculata cv.-gr. sesquipedalis] is of particular interest because the genome of this legume has experienced divergent domestication. Initially, cowpea was domesticated from wild cowpea in Africa; in Asia a vegetable form of cowpea, yardlong bean, subsequently evolved from cowpea. Information on the genetics of domestication-related traits would be useful for yardlong bean and cowpea breeding programmes, as well as comparative genome study among members of the genus Vigna. The objectives of this study were to identify quantitative trait loci (QTLs) for domestication-related traits in yardlong bean and compare them with previously reported QTLs in closely related Vigna.
Methods
Two linkage maps were developed from BC1F1 and F2 populations from the cross between yardlong bean (V. unguiculata ssp. unguiculata cv.-gr. sesquipedalis) accession JP81610 and wild cowpea (V. unguiculata ssp. unguiculata var. spontanea) accession TVnu457. Using these linkage maps, QTLs for 24 domestication-related traits were analysed and mapped. QTLs were detected for traits related to seed, pod, stem and leaf.
Key Results
Most traits were controlled by between one and 11 QTLs. QTLs for domestication-related traits show co-location on several narrow genomic regions on almost all linkage groups (LGs), but especially on LGs 3, 7, 8 and 11. Major QTLs for sizes of seed, pod, stem and leaf were principally located on LG7. Pleiotropy or close linkage of genes for the traits is suggested in these chromosome regions.
Conclusions
This is the first report of QTLs for domestication-related traits in yardlong bean. The results provide a foundation for marker-assisted selection of domestication-related QTLs in yardlong bean and enhance understanding of domestication in the genus Vigna.
doi:10.1093/aob/mcs048
PMCID: PMC3336956  PMID: 22419763
Cowpea; QTL analysis; domestication; Vigna unguiculata; evolution; yardlong bean
16.  An Integrated Genomic Approach for Rapid Delineation of Candidate Genes Regulating Agro-Morphological Traits in Chickpea 
The identification and fine mapping of robust quantitative trait loci (QTLs)/genes governing important agro-morphological traits in chickpea still lacks systematic efforts at a genome-wide scale involving wild Cicer accessions. In this context, an 834 simple sequence repeat and single-nucleotide polymorphism marker-based high-density genetic linkage map between cultivated and wild parental accessions (Cicer arietinum desi cv. ICC 4958 and Cicer reticulatum wild cv. ICC 17160) was constructed. This inter-specific genetic map comprising eight linkage groups spanned a map length of 949.4 cM with an average inter-marker distance of 1.14 cM. Eleven novel major genomic regions harbouring 15 robust QTLs (15.6–39.8% R2 at 4.2–15.7 logarithm of odds) associated with four agro-morphological traits (100-seed weight, pod and branch number/plant and plant hairiness) were identified and mapped on chickpea chromosomes. Most of these QTLs showed positive additive gene effects with effective allelic contribution from ICC 4958, particularly for increasing seed weight (SW) and pod and branch number. One robust SW-influencing major QTL region (qSW4.2) has been narrowed down by combining QTL mapping with high-resolution QTL region-specific association analysis, differential expression profiling and gene haplotype-based association/LD mapping. This enabled to delineate a strong SW-regulating ABI3VP1 transcription factor (TF) gene at trait-specific QTL interval and consequently identified favourable natural allelic variants and superior high seed weight-specific haplotypes in the upstream regulatory region of this gene showing increased transcript expression during seed development. The genes (TFs) harbouring diverse trait-regulating QTLs, once validated and fine-mapped by our developed rapid integrated genomic approach and through gene/QTL map-based cloning, can be utilized as potential candidates for marker-assisted genetic enhancement of chickpea.
doi:10.1093/dnares/dsu031
PMCID: PMC4263302  PMID: 25335477
chickpea; SSR; SNP; QTLs; transcription factor; wild
17.  Identification of candidate genome regions controlling disease resistance in Arachis 
BMC Plant Biology  2009;9:112.
Background
Worldwide, diseases are important reducers of peanut (Arachis hypogaea) yield. Sources of resistance against many diseases are available in cultivated peanut genotypes, although often not in farmer preferred varieties. Wild species generally harbor greater levels of resistance and even apparent immunity, although the linkage of agronomically un-adapted wild alleles with wild disease resistance genes is inevitable. Marker-assisted selection has the potential to facilitate the combination of both cultivated and wild resistance loci with agronomically adapted alleles. However, in peanut there is an almost complete lack of knowledge of the regions of the Arachis genome that control disease resistance.
Results
In this work we identified candidate genome regions that control disease resistance. For this we placed candidate disease resistance genes and QTLs against late leaf spot disease on the genetic map of the A-genome of Arachis, which is based on microsatellite markers and legume anchor markers. These marker types are transferable within the genus Arachis and to other legumes respectively, enabling this map to be aligned to other Arachis maps and to maps of other legume crops including those with sequenced genomes. In total, 34 sequence-confirmed candidate disease resistance genes and five QTLs were mapped.
Conclusion
Candidate genes and QTLs were distributed on all linkage groups except for the smallest, but the distribution was not even. Groupings of candidate genes and QTLs for late leaf spot resistance were apparent on the upper region of linkage group 4 and the lower region of linkage group 2, indicating that these regions are likely to control disease resistance.
doi:10.1186/1471-2229-9-112
PMCID: PMC2739205  PMID: 19698131
18.  Impact of Natural Genetic Variation on Gene Expression Dynamics 
PLoS Genetics  2013;9(6):e1003514.
DNA sequence variation causes changes in gene expression, which in turn has profound effects on cellular states. These variations affect tissue development and may ultimately lead to pathological phenotypes. A genetic locus containing a sequence variation that affects gene expression is called an “expression quantitative trait locus” (eQTL). Whereas the impact of cellular context on expression levels in general is well established, a lot less is known about the cell-state specificity of eQTL. Previous studies differed with respect to how “dynamic eQTL” were defined. Here, we propose a unified framework distinguishing static, conditional and dynamic eQTL and suggest strategies for mapping these eQTL classes. Further, we introduce a new approach to simultaneously infer eQTL from different cell types. By using murine mRNA expression data from four stages of hematopoiesis and 14 related cellular traits, we demonstrate that static, conditional and dynamic eQTL, although derived from the same expression data, represent functionally distinct types of eQTL. While static eQTL affect generic cellular processes, non-static eQTL are more often involved in hematopoiesis and immune response. Our analysis revealed substantial effects of individual genetic variation on cell type-specific expression regulation. Among a total number of 3,941 eQTL we detected 2,729 static eQTL, 1,187 eQTL were conditionally active in one or several cell types, and 70 eQTL affected expression changes during cell type transitions. We also found evidence for feedback control mechanisms reverting the effect of an eQTL specifically in certain cell types. Loci correlated with hematological traits were enriched for conditional eQTL, thus, demonstrating the importance of conditional eQTL for understanding molecular mechanisms underlying physiological trait variation. The classification proposed here has the potential to streamline and unify future analysis of conditional and dynamic eQTL as well as many other kinds of QTL data.
Author Summary
Complex physiological traits are affected through subtle changes of molecular traits like gene expression in the relevant tissues, which in turn are caused by genetic variation. A genetic locus containing a sequence variation affecting gene expression is called an expression quantitative trait locus (eQTL). Understanding the tissue and cell type specificity of eQTL effects is essential for revealing the molecular mechanisms underlying disease phenotypes. However, so far the cell-state dependence of eQTL is poorly understood. In order to systematically assess the importance of cell state-specific eQTL, we propose to distinguish static, conditional and dynamic eQTL and suggest strategies for mapping these eQTL classes. We applied our framework to mouse gene expression data from four hematopoietic stages and related cellular traits. The different eQTL classes, although derived from the same expression data, represent functionally distinct types of eQTL. Importantly, conditional eQTL are well correlated with relevant hematological traits. These findings emphasize the condition specificity of many regulatory relationships, even if the conditions under study are related. This calls for due caution when transferring conclusions about regulatory mechanisms across cell types or tissues. The proposed classification will also help to unravel dynamic behaviors in many other kinds of QTL data.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1003514
PMCID: PMC3674999  PMID: 23754949
19.  Comparative mapping in intraspecific populations uncovers a high degree of macrosynteny between A- and B-genome diploid species of peanut 
BMC Genomics  2012;13:608.
Background
Cultivated peanut or groundnut (Arachis hypogaea L.) is an important oilseed crop with an allotetraploid genome (AABB, 2n = 4x = 40). Both the low level of genetic variation within the cultivated gene pool and its polyploid nature limit the utilization of molecular markers to explore genome structure and facilitate genetic improvement. Nevertheless, a wealth of genetic diversity exists in diploid Arachis species (2n = 2x = 20), which represent a valuable gene pool for cultivated peanut improvement. Interspecific populations have been used widely for genetic mapping in diploid species of Arachis. However, an intraspecific mapping strategy was essential to detect chromosomal rearrangements among species that could be obscured by mapping in interspecific populations. To develop intraspecific reference linkage maps and gain insights into karyotypic evolution within the genus, we comparatively mapped the A- and B-genome diploid species using intraspecific F2 populations. Exploring genome organization among diploid peanut species by comparative mapping will enhance our understanding of the cultivated tetraploid peanut genome. Moreover, new sources of molecular markers that are highly transferable between species and developed from expressed genes will be required to construct saturated genetic maps for peanut.
Results
A total of 2,138 EST-SSR (expressed sequence tag-simple sequence repeat) markers were developed by mining a tetraploid peanut EST assembly including 101,132 unigenes (37,916 contigs and 63,216 singletons) derived from 70,771 long-read (Sanger) and 270,957 short-read (454) sequences. A set of 97 SSR markers were also developed by mining 9,517 genomic survey sequences of Arachis. An SSR-based intraspecific linkage map was constructed using an F2 population derived from a cross between K 9484 (PI 298639) and GKBSPSc 30081 (PI 468327) in the B-genome species A. batizocoi. A high degree of macrosynteny was observed when comparing the homoeologous linkage groups between A (A. duranensis) and B (A. batizocoi) genomes. Comparison of the A- and B-genome genetic linkage maps also showed a total of five inversions and one major reciprocal translocation between two pairs of chromosomes under our current mapping resolution.
Conclusions
Our findings will contribute to understanding tetraploid peanut genome origin and evolution and eventually promote its genetic improvement. The newly developed EST-SSR markers will enrich current molecular marker resources in peanut.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-13-608
PMCID: PMC3532320  PMID: 23140574
Peanut (Arachis hypogaea); SSR; Genetic linkage map; Intraspecific cross; EST
20.  QTL Analysis of High Thermotolerance with Superior and Downgraded Parental Yeast Strains Reveals New Minor QTLs and Converges on Novel Causative Alleles Involved in RNA Processing 
PLoS Genetics  2013;9(8):e1003693.
Revealing QTLs with a minor effect in complex traits remains difficult. Initial strategies had limited success because of interference by major QTLs and epistasis. New strategies focused on eliminating major QTLs in subsequent mapping experiments. Since genetic analysis of superior segregants from natural diploid strains usually also reveals QTLs linked to the inferior parent, we have extended this strategy for minor QTL identification by eliminating QTLs in both parent strains and repeating the QTL mapping with pooled-segregant whole-genome sequence analysis. We first mapped multiple QTLs responsible for high thermotolerance in a natural yeast strain, MUCL28177, compared to the laboratory strain, BY4742. Using single and bulk reciprocal hemizygosity analysis we identified MKT1 and PRP42 as causative genes in QTLs linked to the superior and inferior parent, respectively. We subsequently downgraded both parents by replacing their superior allele with the inferior allele of the other parent. QTL mapping using pooled-segregant whole-genome sequence analysis with the segregants from the cross of the downgraded parents, revealed several new QTLs. We validated the two most-strongly linked new QTLs by identifying NCS2 and SMD2 as causative genes linked to the superior downgraded parent and we found an allele-specific epistatic interaction between PRP42 and SMD2. Interestingly, the related function of PRP42 and SMD2 suggests an important role for RNA processing in high thermotolerance and underscores the relevance of analyzing minor QTLs. Our results show that identification of minor QTLs involved in complex traits can be successfully accomplished by crossing parent strains that have both been downgraded for a single QTL. This novel approach has the advantage of maintaining all relevant genetic diversity as well as enough phenotypic difference between the parent strains for the trait-of-interest and thus maximizes the chances of successfully identifying additional minor QTLs that are relevant for the phenotypic difference between the original parents.
Author Summary
Most traits of organisms are determined by an interplay of different genes interacting in a complex way. For instance, nearly all industrially-important traits of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae are complex traits. We have analyzed high thermotolerance, which is important for industrial fermentations, reducing cooling costs and sustaining higher productivity. Whereas genetic analysis of complex traits has been cumbersome for many years, the development of pooled-segregant whole-genome sequence analysis now allows successful identification of underlying genetic loci with a major effect. On the other hand, identification of loci with a minor contribution remains a challenge. We now present a methodology for identifying minor loci, which is based on the finding that the inferior parent usually also harbours superior alleles. This allowed construction for the trait of high thermotolerance of two ‘downgraded parent strains’ by replacing in each parent a superior allele by the inferior allele from the other parent. Subsequent mapping with the downgraded parents revealed new minor loci, which we validated by identifying the causative genes. Hence, our results illustrate the power of this methodology for successfully identifying minor loci determining complex traits and with a high chance of being co-responsible for the phenotypic difference between the original parents.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1003693
PMCID: PMC3744412  PMID: 23966873
21.  Mapping and use of QTLs controlling pod dehiscence in soybean 
Breeding Science  2012;61(5):554-558.
While the cultivated soybean, Glycine max (L.) Merr., is more recalcitrant to pod dehiscence (shattering-resistant) than wild soybean, Glycine soja Sieb. & Zucc., there is also significant genetic variation in shattering resistance among cultivated soybean cultivars. To reveal the genetic basis and develop DNA markers for pod dehiscence, several research groups have conducted quantitative trait locus (QTL) analysis using segregated populations derived from crosses between G. max accessions or between a G. max and G. soja accession. In the populations of G. max, a major QTL was repeatedly identified near SSR marker Sat_366 on linkage group J (chromosome 16). Minor QTLs were also detected in several studies, although less commonality was found for the magnitudes of effect and location. In G. max × G. soja populations, only QTLs with a relatively small effect were detected. The major QTL found in G. max was further fine-mapped, leading to the development of specific markers for the shattering resistance allele at this locus. The markers were used in a breeding program, resulting in the production of near-isogenic lines with shattering resistance and genetic backgrounds of Japanese elite cultivars. The markers and lines developed will hopefully contribute to the rapid production of a variety of shattering-resistant soybean cultivars.
doi:10.1270/jsbbs.61.554
PMCID: PMC3406785  PMID: 23136494
Soybean (Glycine max); wild soybean (Glycine soja); pod dehiscence; shattering resistance; quantitative trait loci (QTLs); marker-assisted selection (MAS)
22.  Genetic Control and Comparative Genomic Analysis of Flowering Time in Setaria (Poaceae) 
G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics  2013;3(2):283-295.
We report the first study on the genetic control of flowering in Setaria, a panicoid grass closely related to switchgrass, and in the same subfamily as maize and sorghum. A recombinant inbred line mapping population derived from a cross between domesticated Setaria italica (foxtail millet) and its wild relative Setaria viridis (green millet), was grown in eight trials with varying environmental conditions to identify a small number of quantitative trait loci (QTL) that control differences in flowering time. Many of the QTL across trials colocalize, suggesting that the genetic control of flowering in Setaria is robust across a range of photoperiod and other environmental factors. A detailed comparison of QTL for flowering in Setaria, sorghum, and maize indicates that several of the major QTL regions identified in maize and sorghum are syntenic orthologs with Setaria QTL, although the maize large effect QTL on chromosome 10 is not. Several Setaria QTL intervals had multiple LOD peaks and were composed of multiple syntenic blocks, suggesting that observed QTL represent multiple tightly linked loci. Candidate genes from flowering time pathways identified in rice and Arabidopsis were identified in Setaria QTL intervals, including those involved in the CONSTANS photoperiod pathway. However, only three of the approximately seven genes cloned for flowering time in maize colocalized with Setaria QTL. This suggests that variation in flowering time in separate grass lineages is controlled by a combination of conserved and lineage specific genes.
doi:10.1534/g3.112.005207
PMCID: PMC3564988  PMID: 23390604
Setaria; foxtail millet; QTL mapping; flowering time; comparative genomics
23.  Quantitative genetics of age-related retinal degeneration: a second F1 intercross between the A/J and C57BL/6 strains 
Molecular Vision  2007;13:79-85.
Purpose
Previously, several quantitative trait loci (QTL) that influence age-related retinal degeneration (ageRD) were demonstrated in a cross between the C57BL/6J-c2J and BALB/cByJ strains (B x C). In this study, as a complementary approach to ongoing recombinant progeny testing for the purpose of identifying candidate quantitative trait genes (QTG), a second test cross using the A/J and the pigmented C57BL/6J strains (A x B) was carried out. The albino A/J strain was selected because it had the most amount of ageRD among several inbred strains tested, and the pigmented C57BL/6J strain was selected because along with its coisogenic counterpart C57BL/6J-c2J it had the least amount of ageRD. Thus, the effect of pigment on ageRD could be tested at the same time that the C57BL/6 genetic background was kept in common between the crosses from the two studies for the purpose of comparison.
Methods
A non-reciprocal F1 intercross between the A/J and C57BL/6J strains produced 170 F2 progeny. At 8 months of age after being maintained in relatively dim light, F2 mice, control mice and mice of other strains were evaluated for retinal degeneration by measurement of the thickness of the outer nuclear layer of the retina. The F2 mice were genotyped with dinucleotide repeat markers spanning the genome. Correlation of genotype with phenotype was made with Map Manager QTX software.
Results
Comparison of several strains of mice including the pigmented strains 129S1/SvImJ and C57BL/6J and the albino strains A/J, NZW/LacJ, BALB/cByJ and C57BL/6J-c2J, showed significant differences in ageRD. The greatest difference was between the albino A/J strain and the pigmented C57BL/6J strain. However, there was no significant difference between the pigmented C57BL/6J and its albino coisogenic counterpart C57BL/6J-c2J. Neither was there significant difference between the pigmented and albino F2 mice from the A x B cross. On the other hand, F2 males had a small but significantly lower amount of ageRD than females. Several QTL were identified in the A x B cross but surprisingly none of the 3 major QTL present in the original B x C cross (Chrs 6, 10, and 16) was present. There were minor QTL on proximal Chr 12 and proximal Chr 14 in common between the two crosses, and the proximal Chr 12 QTL was present in a previous light damage study involving the B and C strains. At least one sex-limited QTL was present on the X chromosome with a peak in a different location from that of a sex-limited QTL in the previous B x C study. In addition, the protective X allele was from the BALB/cByJ strain in the B x C cross and from C57BL/6J in the A x B cross. In both crosses, the C57BL/6J X-chromosome allele was recessive.
Conclusions
Significant differences were observed in ageRD among several inbred strains of mice maintained in relatively dim light. AgeRD was not influenced by pigment but was influenced by gender, albeit to a small degree. The presence of the same QTL in one light-induced and two ageRD studies suggests at least partial commonality in retinal degeneration pathways of different primary cause. However, the three main QTL present in the B x C cross were absent from the A x B cross. This suggests that the genetic determinants responsible for the greater sensitivity to ageRD of BALB/cByJ and A/J relative to C57BL/6J are not the same. This is supported by the presence of sex-limited X-chromosome QTL in the two crosses in which the C57BL/6J allele is protective relative to the A allele and sensitive relative to the C allele. The findings in the two studies of differing allelic relationships of QTG, and differing QTL aid the identification of candidate genes mapping to critical QTL. Identifying natural modifying genes that influence retinal degeneration resulting from any causal pathway, especially those QTG that are protective, will open avenues of study that may lead to broad based therapies for people suffering retinal degenerative diseases.
PMCID: PMC2503185  PMID: 17277741
24.  Utility of EST-derived SSR in cultivated peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.) and Arachis wild species 
BMC Plant Biology  2009;9:35.
Background
Lack of sufficient molecular markers hinders current genetic research in peanuts (Arachis hypogaea L.). It is necessary to develop more molecular markers for potential use in peanut genetic research. With the development of peanut EST projects, a vast amount of available EST sequence data has been generated. These data offered an opportunity to identify SSR in ESTs by data mining.
Results
In this study, we investigated 24,238 ESTs for the identification and development of SSR markers. In total, 881 SSRs were identified from 780 SSR-containing unique ESTs. On an average, one SSR was found per 7.3 kb of EST sequence with tri-nucleotide motifs (63.9%) being the most abundant followed by di- (32.7%), tetra- (1.7%), hexa- (1.0%) and penta-nucleotide (0.7%) repeat types. The top six motifs included AG/TC (27.7%), AAG/TTC (17.4%), AAT/TTA (11.9%), ACC/TGG (7.72%), ACT/TGA (7.26%) and AT/TA (6.3%). Based on the 780 SSR-containing ESTs, a total of 290 primer pairs were successfully designed and used for validation of the amplification and assessment of the polymorphism among 22 genotypes of cultivated peanuts and 16 accessions of wild species. The results showed that 251 primer pairs yielded amplification products, of which 26 and 221 primer pairs exhibited polymorphism among the cultivated and wild species examined, respectively. Two to four alleles were found in cultivated peanuts, while 3–8 alleles presented in wild species. The apparent broad polymorphism was further confirmed by cloning and sequencing of amplified alleles. Sequence analysis of selected amplified alleles revealed that allelic diversity could be attributed mainly to differences in repeat type and length in the microsatellite regions. In addition, a few single base mutations were observed in the microsatellite flanking regions.
Conclusion
This study gives an insight into the frequency, type and distribution of peanut EST-SSRs and demonstrates successful development of EST-SSR markers in cultivated peanut. These EST-SSR markers could enrich the current resource of molecular markers for the peanut community and would be useful for qualitative and quantitative trait mapping, marker-assisted selection, and genetic diversity studies in cultivated peanut as well as related Arachis species. All of the 251 working primer pairs with names, motifs, repeat types, primer sequences, and alleles tested in cultivated and wild species are listed in Additional File 1.
doi:10.1186/1471-2229-9-35
PMCID: PMC2678122  PMID: 19309524
25.  New stable QTLs for berry weight do not colocalize with QTLs for seed traits in cultivated grapevine (Vitis vinifera L.) 
BMC Plant Biology  2013;13:217.
Background
In grapevine, as in other fruit crops, fruit size and seed content are key components of yield and quality; however, very few Quantitative Trait Loci (QTLs) for berry weight and seed content (number, weight, and dry matter percentage) have been discovered so far. To identify new stable QTLs for marker-assisted selection and candidate gene identification, we performed simultaneous QTL detection in four mapping populations (seeded or seedless) with various genetic backgrounds.
Results
For berry weight, we identified five new QTLs, on linkage groups (LGs) 1, 8, 11, 17 and 18, in addition to the known major QTL on LG 18. The QTL with the largest effect explained up to 31% of total variance and was found in two genetically distant populations on LG 17, where it colocalized with a published putative domestication locus. For seed traits, besides the major QTLs on LG 18 previously reported, we found four new QTLs explaining up to 51% of total variance, on LGs 4, 5, 12 and 14. The previously published QTL for seed number on LG 2 was found related in fact to sex. We found colocalizations between seed and berry weight QTLs only for the major QTL on LG 18 in a seedless background, and on LGs 1 and 13 in a seeded background. Candidate genes belonging to the cell number regulator CNR or cytochrome P450 families were found under the berry weight QTLs on LGs 1, 8, and 17. The involvement of these gene families in fruit weight was first described in tomato using a QTL-cloning approach. Several other interesting candidate genes related to cell wall modifications, water import, auxin and ethylene signalling, transcription control, or organ identity were also found under berry weight QTLs.
Conclusion
We discovered a total of nine new QTLs for berry weight or seed traits in grapevine, thereby increasing more than twofold the number of reliable QTLs for these traits available for marker assisted selection or candidate gene studies. The lack of colocalization between berry and seed QTLs suggests that these traits may be partly dissociated.
doi:10.1186/1471-2229-13-217
PMCID: PMC3878267  PMID: 24350702
Berry weight; Candidate gene; Grapevine; Quantitative trait locus; QTL; Seed number; Seed weight; Vitis vinifera

Results 1-25 (843517)