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Identification and fine mapping of quantitative trait loci for the number of vascular bundle in maize stem

Huang, Cheng, Chen, Qiuyue, Xu, Guanghui, Xu, Dingyi, Tian, Jinge, Tian, Feng
Journal of integrative plant biology 2016 v.58 no.1 pp. 81-90
Zea, chromosomes, corn, domestication, isogenic lines, phenotypic variation, quantitative trait loci
Studies that investigated the genetic basis of source and sink related traits have been widely conducted. However, the vascular system that links source and sink received much less attention. When maize was domesticated from its wild ancestor, teosinte, the external morphology has changed dramatically; however, less is known for the internal anatomy changes. In this study, using a large maize‐teosinte experimental population, we performed a high‐resolution quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping for the number of vascular bundle in the uppermost internode of maize stem. The results showed that vascular bundle number is dominated by a large number of small‐effect QTLs, in which a total of 16 QTLs that jointly accounts for 52.2% of phenotypic variation were detected, with no single QTL explaining more than 6% of variation. Different from QTLs for typical domestication traits, QTLs for vascular bundle number might not be under directional selection following domestication. Using Near Isogenic Lines (NILs) developed from heterogeneous inbred family (HIF), we further validated the effect of one QTL qVb9‐2 on chromosome 9 and fine mapped the QTL to a 1.8‐Mb physical region. This study provides important insights for the genetic architecture of vascular bundle number in maize stem and sets basis for cloning of qVb9‐2.