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Genotyping-by-sequencing-based investigation of the genetic architecture responsible for a ~sevenfold increase in soybean seed stearic acid

Crystal B. Heim, Jason D. Gillman
G3-GenesGenomesGenetics 2017 v.7 no.1 pp. 299-308
chromosome mapping, chromosomes, crossing, cultivars, functional properties, gene deletion, genes, hydrogenated oils, hydrogenation, inheritance (genetics), missense mutation, mutants, oxidative stability, quantitative trait loci, saturated fats, seed yield, soybean oil, soybeans, stearic acid, trans fatty acids
Soybean oil is highly unsaturated but oxidatively unstable, rendering it nonideal for food applications. Until recently, the majority of soybean oil underwent partial chemical hydrogenation, which produces trans fats as an unavoidable consequence. Dietary intake of trans fats and most saturated fats are conclusively linked to negative impacts on cholesterol levels and cardiovascular health. Two major soybean oil breeding targets are: (1) to reduce or eliminate the need for chemical hydrogenation, and (2) to replace the functional properties of partially hydrogenated soybean oil. One potential solution is the elevation of seed stearic acid, a saturated fat which has no negative impacts on cardiovascular health, from 3 to 4% in typical cultivars to > 20% of the seed oil. We performed QTL analysis of a population developed by crossing two mutant lines, one with a missense mutation affecting a stearoyl-acyl-carrier protein desaturase gene resulting in ∼11% seed stearic acid crossed to another mutant, A6, which has 24–28% seed stearic acid. Genotyping-by-sequencing (GBS)-based QTL mapping identified 21 minor and major effect QTL for six seed oil related traits and plant height. The inheritance of a large genomic deletion affecting chromosome 14 is the basis for largest effect QTL, resulting in ∼18% seed stearic acid. This deletion contains SACPD-C and another gene(s); loss of both genes boosts seed stearic acid levels to ≥ 18%. Unfortunately, this genomic deletion has been shown in previous studies to be inextricably correlated with reduced seed yield. Our results will help inform and guide ongoing breeding efforts to improve soybean oil oxidative stability.