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1.  Linkage and Association Mapping for Two Major Traits Used in the Maritime Pine Breeding Program: Height Growth and Stem Straightness 
PLoS ONE  2016;11(11):e0165323.
Increasing our understanding of the genetic architecture of complex traits, through analyses of genotype-phenotype associations and of the genes/polymorphisms accounting for trait variation, is crucial, to improve the integration of molecular markers into forest tree breeding. In this study, two full-sib families and one breeding population of maritime pine were used to identify quantitative trait loci (QTLs) for height growth and stem straightness, through linkage analysis (LA) and linkage disequilibrium (LD) mapping approaches.
The populations used for LA consisted of two unrelated three-generation full-sib families (n = 197 and n = 477). These populations were assessed for height growth or stem straightness and genotyped for 248 and 217 markers, respectively. The population used for LD mapping consisted of 661 founders of the first and second generations of the breeding program. This population was phenotyped for the same traits and genotyped for 2,498 single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers corresponding to 1,652 gene loci. The gene-based reference genetic map of maritime pine was used to localize and compare the QTLs detected by the two approaches, for both traits. LA identified three QTLs for stem straightness and two QTLs for height growth. The LD study yielded seven significant associations (P ≤ 0.001): four for stem straightness and three for height growth. No colocalisation was found between QTLs identified by LA and SNPs detected by LD mapping for the same trait.
This study provides the first comparison of LA and LD mapping approaches in maritime pine, highlighting the complementary nature of these two approaches for deciphering the genetic architecture of two mandatory traits of the breeding program.
PMCID: PMC5091878  PMID: 27806077
2.  High-density linkage mapping and distribution of segregation distortion regions in the oak genome 
We developed the densest single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP)-based linkage genetic map to date for the genus Quercus. An 8k gene-based SNP array was used to genotype more than 1,000 full-sibs from two intraspecific and two interspecific full-sib families of Quercus petraea and Quercus robur. A high degree of collinearity was observed between the eight parental maps of the two species. A composite map was then established with 4,261 SNP markers spanning 742 cM over the 12 linkage groups (LGs) of the oak genome. Nine genomic regions from six LGs displayed highly significant distortions of segregation. Two main hypotheses concerning the mechanisms underlying segregation distortion are discussed: genetic load vs. reproductive barriers. Our findings suggest a predominance of pre-zygotic to post-zygotic barriers.
PMCID: PMC4833419  PMID: 27013549
high-density linkage map; SNP; segregation distortion; reproductive barriers; Quercus
3.  The genetics of water-use efficiency and its relation to growth in maritime pine 
Journal of Experimental Botany  2014;65(17):4757-4768.
To meet the increasing demand of wood biomass worldwide in the context of climate change, developing improved forest tree varieties for high productivity in water-limited conditions is becoming a major issue. This involves breeding for genotypes combining high growth and moderate water loss and thus high water-use efficiency (WUE). The present work provides original data about the genetics of intrinsic WUE (the ratio between net CO2 assimilation rate and stomatal conductance, also estimated by carbon isotope composition of plant material; δ13C) and its relation to growth in Pinus pinaster Ait. First, heritability for δ13C was estimated (0.29) using a 15-year-old progeny trial (Landes provenance), with no significant differences among three sites contrasting in water availability. High intersite correlations (0.63–0.91) and significant but low genotype–environment interactions were detected. Secondly, the genetic architectures of δ13C and growth were studied in a three-generation inbred pedigree, introducing the genetic background of a more-drought-adapted parent (Corsican provenance), at ages of 2 years (greenhouse) and 9 years (plantation). One of the quantitative trait loci (QTLs) identified in the field experiment, explaining 67% of the phenotypic variance, was also found among the QTLs detected in the greenhouse experiment, where it colocalized with QTLs for intrinsic WUE and stomatal conductance. This work was able to show that higher WUE was not genetically linked to less growth, allowing thus genetic improvement of water use. As far as is known, the heritability and QTL effects estimated here are based on the highest number of genotypes measured to date.
PMCID: PMC4144764  PMID: 24987014
Breeding; carbon isotope composition; genotype×environment interaction; genetic variability; growth; heritability; maritime pine; QTL; water-use efficiency.
4.  Genome-wide distribution of genetic diversity and linkage disequilibrium in a mass-selected population of maritime pine 
BMC Genomics  2014;15:171.
The accessibility of high-throughput genotyping technologies has contributed greatly to the development of genomic resources in non-model organisms. High-density genotyping arrays have only recently been developed for some economically important species such as conifers. The potential for using genomic technologies in association mapping and breeding depends largely on the genome wide patterns of diversity and linkage disequilibrium in current breeding populations. This study aims to deepen our knowledge regarding these issues in maritime pine, the first species used for reforestation in south western Europe.
Using a new map merging algorithm, we first established a 1,712 cM composite linkage map (comprising 1,838 SNP markers in 12 linkage groups) by bringing together three already available genetic maps. Using rigorous statistical testing based on kernel density estimation and resampling we identified cold and hot spots of recombination. In parallel, 186 unrelated trees of a mass-selected population were genotyped using a 12k-SNP array. A total of 2,600 informative SNPs allowed to describe historical recombination, genetic diversity and genetic structure of this recently domesticated breeding pool that forms the basis of much of the current and future breeding of this species. We observe very low levels of population genetic structure and find no evidence that artificial selection has caused a reduction in genetic diversity. By combining these two pieces of information, we provided the map position of 1,671 SNPs corresponding to 1,192 different loci. This made it possible to analyze the spatial pattern of genetic diversity (H e ) and long distance linkage disequilibrium (LD) along the chromosomes. We found no particular pattern in the empirical variogram of H e across the 12 linkage groups and, as expected for an outcrossing species with large effective population size, we observed an almost complete lack of long distance LD.
These results are a stepping stone for the development of strategies for studies in population genomics, association mapping and genomic prediction in this economical and ecologically important forest tree species.
PMCID: PMC4029062  PMID: 24581176
Pinus pinaster; Genetic diversity; Linkage disequilibrium; Recombination; Linkage map; Domestication; Breeding program; Forest tree; Genomics; Genomic selection
5.  High-density linkage mapping in a pine tree reveals a genomic region associated with inbreeding depression and provides clues to the extent and distribution of meiotic recombination 
BMC Biology  2013;11:50.
The availability of a large expressed sequence tags (EST) resource and recent advances in high-throughput genotyping technology have made it possible to develop highly multiplexed SNP arrays for multi-objective genetic applications, including the construction of meiotic maps. Such approaches are particularly useful in species with a large genome size, precluding the use of whole-genome shotgun assembly with current technologies.
In this study, a 12 k-SNP genotyping array was developed for maritime pine from an extensive EST resource assembled into a unigene set. The offspring of three-generation outbred and inbred mapping pedigrees were then genotyped. The inbred pedigree consisted of a classical F2 population resulting from the selfing of a single inter-provenance (Landes x Corsica) hybrid tree, whereas the outbred pedigree (G2) resulted from a controlled cross of two intra-provenance (Landes x Landes) hybrid trees. This resulted in the generation of three linkage maps based on SNP markers: one from the parental genotype of the F2 population (1,131 markers in 1,708 centimorgan (cM)), and one for each parent of the G2 population (1,015 and 1,110 markers in 1,447 and 1,425 cM for the female and male parents, respectively). A comparison of segregation patterns in the progeny obtained from the two types of mating (inbreeding and outbreeding) led to the identification of a chromosomal region carrying an embryo viability locus with a semi-lethal allele. Following selfing and segregation, zygote mortality resulted in a deficit of Corsican homozygous genotypes in the F2 population. This dataset was also used to study the extent and distribution of meiotic recombination along the length of the chromosomes and the effect of sex and/or genetic background on recombination. The genetic background of trees in which meiotic recombination occurred was found to have a significant effect on the frequency of recombination. Furthermore, only a small proportion of the recombination hot- and cold-spots were common to all three genotypes, suggesting that the spatial pattern of recombination was genetically variable.
This study led to the development of classical genomic tools for this ecologically and economically important species. It also identified a chromosomal region bearing a semi-lethal recessive allele and demonstrated the genetic variability of recombination rate over the genome.
PMCID: PMC3660193  PMID: 23597128
Unigene; SNP array; Linkage mapping; Segregation distortion; Recombination; Maritime pine; Pinus pinaster
6.  Annotated genetic linkage maps of Pinus pinaster Ait. from a Central Spain population using microsatellite and gene based markers 
BMC Genomics  2012;13:527.
Pinus pinaster Ait. is a major resin producing species in Spain. Genetic linkage mapping can facilitate marker-assisted selection (MAS) through the identification of Quantitative Trait Loci and selection of allelic variants of interest in breeding populations. In this study, we report annotated genetic linkage maps for two individuals (C14 and C15) belonging to a breeding program aiming to increase resin production. We use different types of DNA markers, including last-generation molecular markers.
We obtained 13 and 14 linkage groups for C14 and C15 maps, respectively. A total of 211 and 215 markers were positioned on each map and estimated genome length was between 1,870 and 2,166 cM respectively, which represents near 65% of genome coverage. Comparative mapping with previously developed genetic linkage maps for P. pinaster based on about 60 common markers enabled aligning linkage groups to this reference map. The comparison of our annotated linkage maps and linkage maps reporting QTL information revealed 11 annotated SNPs in candidate genes that co-localized with previously reported QTLs for wood properties and water use efficiency.
This study provides genetic linkage maps from a Spanish population that shows high levels of genetic divergence with French populations from which segregating progenies have been previously mapped. These genetic maps will be of interest to construct a reliable consensus linkage map for the species. The importance of developing functional genetic linkage maps is highlighted, especially when working with breeding populations for its future application in MAS for traits of interest.
PMCID: PMC3534022  PMID: 23036012
Pinus pinaster; Genetic linkage map; Functional annotation; Microsatellites; SNPs
7.  Comparative mapping in the Fagaceae and beyond with EST-SSRs 
BMC Plant Biology  2012;12:153.
Genetic markers and linkage mapping are basic prerequisites for comparative genetic analyses, QTL detection and map-based cloning. A large number of mapping populations have been developed for oak, but few gene-based markers are available for constructing integrated genetic linkage maps and comparing gene order and QTL location across related species.
We developed a set of 573 expressed sequence tag-derived simple sequence repeats (EST-SSRs) and located 397 markers (EST-SSRs and genomic SSRs) on the 12 oak chromosomes (2n = 2x = 24) on the basis of Mendelian segregation patterns in 5 full-sib mapping pedigrees of two species: Quercus robur (pedunculate oak) and Quercus petraea (sessile oak). Consensus maps for the two species were constructed and aligned. They showed a high degree of macrosynteny between these two sympatric European oaks. We assessed the transferability of EST-SSRs to other Fagaceae genera and a subset of these markers was mapped in Castanea sativa, the European chestnut. Reasonably high levels of macrosynteny were observed between oak and chestnut. We also obtained diversity statistics for a subset of EST-SSRs, to support further population genetic analyses with gene-based markers. Finally, based on the orthologous relationships between the oak, Arabidopsis, grape, poplar, Medicago, and soybean genomes and the paralogous relationships between the 12 oak chromosomes, we propose an evolutionary scenario of the 12 oak chromosomes from the eudicot ancestral karyotype.
This study provides map locations for a large set of EST-SSRs in two oak species of recognized biological importance in natural ecosystems. This first step toward the construction of a gene-based linkage map will facilitate the assignment of future genome scaffolds to pseudo-chromosomes. This study also provides an indication of the potential utility of new gene-based markers for population genetics and comparative mapping within and beyond the Fagaceae.
PMCID: PMC3493355  PMID: 22931513
8.  Development and implementation of a highly-multiplexed SNP array for genetic mapping in maritime pine and comparative mapping with loblolly pine 
BMC Genomics  2011;12:368.
Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) are the most abundant source of genetic variation among individuals of a species. New genotyping technologies allow examining hundreds to thousands of SNPs in a single reaction for a wide range of applications such as genetic diversity analysis, linkage mapping, fine QTL mapping, association studies, marker-assisted or genome-wide selection. In this paper, we evaluated the potential of highly-multiplexed SNP genotyping for genetic mapping in maritime pine (Pinus pinaster Ait.), the main conifer used for commercial plantation in southwestern Europe.
We designed a custom GoldenGate assay for 1,536 SNPs detected through the resequencing of gene fragments (707 in vitro SNPs/Indels) and from Sanger-derived Expressed Sequenced Tags assembled into a unigene set (829 in silico SNPs/Indels). Offspring from three-generation outbred (G2) and inbred (F2) pedigrees were genotyped. The success rate of the assay was 63.6% and 74.8% for in silico and in vitro SNPs, respectively. A genotyping error rate of 0.4% was further estimated from segregating data of SNPs belonging to the same gene. Overall, 394 SNPs were available for mapping. A total of 287 SNPs were integrated with previously mapped markers in the G2 parental maps, while 179 SNPs were localized on the map generated from the analysis of the F2 progeny. Based on 98 markers segregating in both pedigrees, we were able to generate a consensus map comprising 357 SNPs from 292 different loci. Finally, the analysis of sequence homology between mapped markers and their orthologs in a Pinus taeda linkage map, made it possible to align the 12 linkage groups of both species.
Our results show that the GoldenGate assay can be used successfully for high-throughput SNP genotyping in maritime pine, a conifer species that has a genome seven times the size of the human genome. This SNP-array will be extended thanks to recent sequencing effort using new generation sequencing technologies and will include SNPs from comparative orthologous sequences that were identified in the present study, providing a wider collection of anchor points for comparative genomics among the conifers.
PMCID: PMC3146957  PMID: 21767361
9.  A fast and cost-effective approach to develop and map EST-SSR markers: oak as a case study 
BMC Genomics  2010;11:570.
Expressed Sequence Tags (ESTs) are a source of simple sequence repeats (SSRs) that can be used to develop molecular markers for genetic studies. The availability of ESTs for Quercus robur and Quercus petraea provided a unique opportunity to develop microsatellite markers to accelerate research aimed at studying adaptation of these long-lived species to their environment. As a first step toward the construction of a SSR-based linkage map of oak for quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping, we describe the mining and survey of EST-SSRs as well as a fast and cost-effective approach (bin mapping) to assign these markers to an approximate map position. We also compared the level of polymorphism between genomic and EST-derived SSRs and address the transferability of EST-SSRs in Castanea sativa (chestnut).
A catalogue of 103,000 Sanger ESTs was assembled into 28,024 unigenes from which 18.6% presented one or more SSR motifs. More than 42% of these SSRs corresponded to trinucleotides. Primer pairs were designed for 748 putative unigenes. Overall 37.7% (283) were found to amplify a single polymorphic locus in a reference full-sib pedigree of Quercus robur. The usefulness of these loci for establishing a genetic map was assessed using a bin mapping approach. Bin maps were constructed for the male and female parental tree for which framework linkage maps based on AFLP markers were available. The bin set consisting of 14 highly informative offspring selected based on the number and position of crossover sites. The female and male maps comprised 44 and 37 bins, with an average bin length of 16.5 cM and 20.99 cM, respectively. A total of 256 EST-SSRs were assigned to bins and their map position was further validated by linkage mapping. EST-SSRs were found to be less polymorphic than genomic SSRs, but their transferability rate to chestnut, a phylogenetically related species to oak, was higher.
We have generated a bin map for oak comprising 256 EST-SSRs. This resource constitutes a first step toward the establishment of a gene-based map for this genus that will facilitate the dissection of QTLs affecting complex traits of ecological importance.
PMCID: PMC3091719  PMID: 20950475

Results 1-9 (9)