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1.  Marker-based linkage map of Andean common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) and mapping of QTLs underlying popping ability traits 
BMC Plant Biology  2012;12:136.
Nuña bean is a type of ancient common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) native to the Andean region of South America, whose seeds possess the unusual property of popping. The nutritional features of popped seeds make them a healthy low fat and high protein snack. However, flowering of nuña bean only takes place under short-day photoperiod conditions, which means a difficulty to extend production to areas where such conditions do not prevail. Therefore, breeding programs of adaptation traits will facilitate the diversification of the bean crops and the development of new varieties with enhanced healthy properties. Although the popping trait has been profusely studied in maize (popcorn), little is known about the biology and genetic basis of the popping ability in common bean. To obtain insights into the genetics of popping ability related traits of nuña bean, a comprehensive quantitative trait loci (QTL) analysis was performed to detect single-locus and epistatic QTLs responsible for the phenotypic variance observed in these traits.
A mapping population of 185 recombinant inbred lines (RILs) derived from a cross between two Andean common bean genotypes was evaluated for three popping related traits, popping dimension index (PDI), expansion coefficient (EC), and percentage of unpopped seeds (PUS), in five different environmental conditions. The genetic map constructed included 193 loci across 12 linkage groups (LGs), covering a genetic distance of 822.1 cM, with an average of 4.3 cM per marker. Individual and multi-environment QTL analyses detected a total of nineteen single-locus QTLs, highlighting among them the co-localized QTLs for the three popping ability traits placed on LGs 3, 5, 6, and 7, which together explained 24.9, 14.5, and 25.3% of the phenotypic variance for PDI, EC, and PUS, respectively. Interestingly, epistatic interactions among QTLs have been detected, which could have a key role in the genetic control of popping.
The QTLs here reported constitute useful tools for marker assisted selection breeding programs aimed at improving nuña bean cultivars, as well as for extending our knowledge of the genetic determinants and genotype x environment interaction involved in the popping ability traits of this bean crop.
PMCID: PMC3490973  PMID: 22873566
2.  Functional Analysis of the Arlequin Mutant Corroborates the Essential Role of the ARLEQUIN/TAGL1 Gene during Reproductive Development of Tomato 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(12):e14427.
Reproductive development of higher plants comprises successive events of organ differentiation and growth which finally lead to the formation of a mature fruit. However, most of the genetic and molecular mechanisms which coordinate such developmental events are yet to be identified and characterized. Arlequin (Alq), a semi-dominant T-DNA tomato mutant showed developmental changes affecting flower and fruit ripening. Sepals were converted into fleshy organs which ripened as normal fruit organs and fruits displayed altered ripening features. Molecular characterization of the tagged gene demonstrated that it corresponded to the previously reported TOMATO AGAMOUS-LIKE 1 (TAGL1) gene, the tomato ortholog of SHATTERPROOF MADS-box genes of Arabidopsis thaliana, and that the Alq mutation promoted a gain-of-function phenotype caused by the ectopic expression of TAGL1. Ectopic overexpression of TAGL1 resulted in homeotic alterations affecting floral organ identity that were similar to but stronger than those observed in Alq mutant plants. Interestingly, TAGL1 RNAi plants yielded tomato fruits which were unable to ripen. They displayed a yellow-orange color and stiffness appearance which are in accordance with reduced lycopene and ethylene levels, respectively. Moreover, pericarp cells of TAGL1 RNAi fruits showed altered cellular and structural properties which correlated to both decreased expression of genes regulating cell division and lignin biosynthesis. Over-expression of TAGL1 is able to rescue the non-ripening phenotype of rin and nor mutants, which is mediated by the transcriptional activation of several ripening genes. Our results demonstrated that TAGL1 participates in the genetic control of flower and fruit development of tomato plants. Furthermore, gene silencing and over-expression experiments demonstrated that the fruit ripening process requires the regulatory activity of TAGL1. Therefore, TAGL1 could act as a linking factor connecting successive stages of reproductive development, from flower development to fruit maturation, allowing this complex process to be carried out successfully.
PMCID: PMC3009712  PMID: 21203447

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