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Mapping of a major QTL for salt tolerance of mature field-grown maize plants based on SNP markers

Luo, Meijie, Zhao, Yanxin, Zhang, Ruyang, Xing, Jinfeng, Duan, Minxiao, Li, Jingna, Wang, Naishun, Wang, Wenguang, Zhang, Shasha, Chen, Zhihui, Zhang, Huasheng, Shi, Zi, Song, Wei, Zhao, Jiuran
BMC plant biology 2017 v.17 no.1 pp. 140
Zea mays, adults, chromosome mapping, chromosomes, confidence interval, corn, doubled haploids, genes, genetic factors, homeostasis, marker-assisted selection, molecular cloning, phenotypic variation, plant growth, quantitative trait loci, salt stress, salt tolerance, single nucleotide polymorphism
BACKGROUND: Salt stress significantly restricts plant growth and production. Maize is an important food and economic crop but is also a salt sensitive crop. Identification of the genetic architecture controlling salt tolerance facilitates breeders to select salt tolerant lines. However, the critical quantitative trait loci (QTLs) responsible for the salt tolerance of field-grown maize plants are still unknown. RESULTS: To map the main genetic factors contributing to salt tolerance in mature maize, a double haploid population (240 individuals) and 1317 single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers were employed to produce a genetic linkage map covering 1462.05 cM. Plant height of mature maize cultivated in the saline field (SPH) and plant height-based salt tolerance index (ratio of plant height between saline and control fields, PHI) were used to evaluate salt tolerance of mature maize plants. A major QTL for SPH was detected on Chromosome 1 with the LOD score of 22.4, which explained 31.2% of the phenotypic variation. In addition, the major QTL conditioning PHI was also mapped at the same position on Chromosome 1, and two candidate genes involving in ion homeostasis were identified within the confidence interval of this QTL. CONCLUSIONS: The detection of the major QTL in adult maize plant establishes the basis for the map-based cloning of genes associated with salt tolerance and provides a potential target for marker assisted selection in developing maize varieties with salt tolerance.