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Journal: TAG. Theoretical and applied genetics. Theoretische und angewandte Genetik


A novel source of resistance to two-spotted spider mite (Tetranychus urticae Koch) was found in Solanum pimpinellifolium L. accession TO-937 and thereby a potential source of desirable traits that could be introduced into new tomato varieties. This resistance was found to be controlled by a major locus modulated by minor loci of unknown location in the genome of this wild tomato. We first applied a bulked segregant analysis (BSA) approach in an F(4) population as a method for rapidly identifying a genomic region of 17 cM on chromosome 2, flanked by two simple sequence repeat markers, harboring Rtu2.1, one of the major QTL involved in the spider mite resistance. A population of 169 recombinant inbred lines was also evaluated for spider mite infestation and a highly saturated genetic map was developed from this population. QTL mapping corroborated that chromosome 2 harbored the Rtu2.1 QTL in the same region that our previous BSA findings pointed out, but an even more robust QTL was found in the telomeric region of this chromosome. This QTL, we termed Rtu2.2, had a LOD score of 15.43 and accounted for more than 30 % of the variance of two-spotted spider mite resistance. Several candidate genes involved in trichome formation, synthesis of trichomes exudates and plant defense signaling have been sequenced. However, either the lack of polymorphisms between the parental lines or their map position, away from the QTL, led to their rejection as candidate genes responsible for the two-spotted spider mite resistance. The Rtu2 QTL not only serve as a valuable target for marker-assisted selection of new spider mite-resistant tomato varieties, but also as a starting point for a better understanding of the molecular genetic functions underlying the resistance to this pest.

Concepts: Gene, Genetics, Genome, Classical genetics, Solanum, Tetranychus urticae, Spider mite, Tetranychus


Resistance of eggplant against Ralstonia solanacearum phylotype I strains was assessed in a F(6) population of recombinant inbred lines (RILs) derived from a intra-specific cross between S. melongena MM738 (susceptible) and AG91-25 (resistant). Resistance traits were determined as disease score, percentage of wilted plants, and stem-based bacterial colonization index, as assessed in greenhouse experiments conducted in Réunion Island, France. The AG91-25 resistance was highly efficient toward strains CMR134, PSS366 and GMI1000, but only partial toward the highly virulent strain PSS4. The partial resistance found against PSS4 was overcome under high inoculation pressure, with heritability estimates from 0.28 to 0.53, depending on the traits and season. A genetic map was built with 119 AFLP, SSR and SRAP markers positioned on 18 linkage groups (LG), for a total length of 884 cM, and used for quantitative trait loci (QTL) analysis. A major dominant gene, named ERs1, controlled the resistance to strains CMR134, PSS366, and GMI1000. Against strain PSS4, this gene was not detected, but a significant QTL involved in delay of disease progress was detected on another LG. The possible use of the major resistance gene ERs1 in marker-assisted selection and the prospects offered for academic studies of a possible gene for gene system controlling resistance to bacterial wilt in solanaceous plants are discussed.

Concepts: Gene, Genetics, Classical genetics, Quantitative trait locus, Genetic linkage, William Bateson, Amplified fragment length polymorphism, Epistasis


Complex silencing mechanisms in plants and other kingdoms target transposons, repeat sequences, invasive viral nucleic acids and transgenes, but also endogenous genes and genes involved in paramutation. Paramutation occurs in a heterozygote when a transcriptionally active allele heritably adopts the epigenetic state of a transcriptionally and/or post-transcriptionally repressed allele. P1-rr and its silenced epiallele P1-pr, which encode a Myb-like transcription factor mediating pigmentation in floral organs of Zea mays, differ in their cytosine methylation pattern and chromatin structure at a complex enhancer site. Here, we tested whether P1-pr is able to heritably silence its transcriptionally active P1-rr allele in a heterozygote and whether DNA methylation is associated with the establishment and maintenance of P1-rr silencing. We found that P1-pr participates in paramutation as the repressing allele and P1-rr as the sensitive allele. Silencing of P1-rr is highly variable compared to the inducing P1-pr resulting in a wide range of gene expression. Whereas cytosine methylation at P1-rr is negatively correlated with transcription and pigment levels after segregation of P1-pr, methylation lags behind the establishment of the repressed p1 gene expression. We propose a model in which P1-pr paramutation is triggered by changing epigenetic states of transposons immediately adjacent to a P1-rr enhancer sequence. Considering the vast amount of transposable elements in the maize genome close to regulatory elements of genes, numerous loci could undergo paramutation-induced allele silencing, which could also have a significant impact on breeding agronomically important traits.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Genetics, Cell nucleus, Gene expression, Epigenetics, RNA, DNA methylation


Fruit from Rubus species are highly valued for their flavor and nutritive qualities. Anthocyanin content contributes to these qualities, and although many studies have been conducted to identify and quantify the major anthocyanin compounds from various Rubus species, the genetic control of the accumulation of these complex traits in Rubus is not yet well understood. The identification of the regions of the genome involved in the production of anthocyanins is an important first step in identifying the genes underlying their expression. In this study, ultra and high-performance liquid chromatography (UHPLC and HPLC) and two newly developed Rubus linkage maps were used to conduct QTL analyses to explore the presence of associations between concentrations of five anthocyanins in fruit and genotype. In total, 27 QTL were identified on the Rubus linkage maps, four of which are associated with molecular markers designed from transcription factors and three of which are associated with molecular markers designed from anthocyanin biosynthetic pathway candidate genes. The results of this study suggest that, while QTL for anthocyanin accumulation have been identified on six of seven Rubus linkage groups (RLG), the QTL on RLG2 and RLG7 may be very important for genetic control of cyanidin modification in Rubus.

Concepts: DNA, Protein, Gene, Genetics, Chromatography, High performance liquid chromatography, Raspberry, Rubus occidentalis


Grain protein content in wheat has been shown to be affected by the NAM-B1 gene where the wildtype allele confers high levels of protein and micronutrients but can reduce yield. Two known non-functional alleles instead increase yield but lead to lower levels of protein and micronutrients. The wildtype allele in hexaploid bread wheat is so far mainly known from historical specimens and a few lines with an emmer wheat introgression. Here we report a screening for the wildtype allele in wheats of different origin. First, a worldwide core collection of 367 bread wheats with worldwide origin was screened and five accessions carrying the wildtype NAM-B1 allele were found. Several of these could be traced to a Fennoscandian origin and the wildtype allele was more frequent in spring wheat. These findings, together with the late maturation of spring wheat, suggested that the faster maturation caused by the wildtype allele might have preserved it in areas with a short growing season. Thus a second set consisting of 138 spring wheats of a northern origin was screened and as many as 33 % of the accessions had the wildtype allele, all of a Fennoscandian origin. The presence of the wildtype allele in landraces and cultivars is in agreement with the use of landraces in Fennoscandian wheat breeding. Last, 22 spelt wheats, a wheat type previously suggested to carry the wildtype allele, were screened and five wildtype accessions found. The wildtype NAM-B1 accessions found could be a suitable material for plant breeding efforts directed towards increasing the nutrient content of bread wheat.

Concepts: Gene, Allele, Wheat, Common wheat, Spelt, Rye, Wild type, Emmer


The recent technology of the single-nucleotide-polymorphism (SNP) array makes it possible to genotype millions of SNP markers on genome, which in turn requires to develop fast and efficient method for fine-scale quantitative trait loci (QTL) mapping. The single-marker association (SMA) is the simplest method for fine-scale QTL mapping, but it usually shows many false-positive signals and has low QTL-detection power. Compared with SMA, the haplotype-based method of Meuwissen and Goddard who assume QTL effect to be random and estimate variance components (VC) with identity-by-descent (IBD) matrices that inferred from unknown historic population is more powerful for fine-scale QTL mapping; furthermore, their method also tends to show continuous QTL-detection profile to diminish many false-positive signals. However, as we know, the variance component estimation is usually very time consuming and difficult to converge. Thus, an extremely fast EMF (Expectation-Maximization algorithm under Fixed effect model) is proposed in this research, which assumes a biallelic QTL and uses an expectation-maximization (EM) algorithm to solve model effects. The results of simulation experiments showed that (1) EMF was computationally much faster than VC method; (2) EMF and VC performed similarly in QTL detection power and parameter estimations, and both outperformed the paired-marker analysis and SMA. However, the power of EMF would be lower than that of VC if the QTL was multiallelic.

Concepts: Genetics, Estimation theory, Quantitative trait locus


Resynthesized (Resyn) Brassica napus L. can be used to broaden the genetic diversity and to develop a heterotic genepool for rapeseed hybrid breeding. Domesticated vegetable types are usually employed as B. oleracea parents. We sought to evaluate the potential of wild species as parents for Resyn lines. Fifteen Resyn lines were derived by crossing wild B. oleracea ssp. oleracea and oilseed B. rapa, and 29 Resyn lines were generated from 10 wild Brassica species (B. bourgaei, B. cretica, B. incana, B. insularis, B. hilarionis, B. macrocarpa, B. montana, B. rupestris, B. taurica, B. villosa). Genetic distances were analyzed with AFLP markers for 71 Resyn lines from wild and domesticated B. oleracea, and compared with 55 winter, spring, vegetable, and Asian B. napus genotypes. The genetic distances clearly showed that Resyn lines with wild species provide a genetic diversity absent from the breeding material or Resyn lines from domesticated species. Forty-two Resyn lines were crossed with one or two winter oilseed rape testers, resulting in 64 hybrids that were grown in one year and four locations in Germany and France. The correlation between hybrid yield and genetic distance was slightly negative (r = -0.29). Most of the hybrids with Resyn lines from wild B. oleracea were lower in yield than hybrids with Resyn lines from domesticated B. oleracea. It is promising that Resyn lines descending from unselected wild B. oleracea accessions produced high-yielding hybrids when crossed with adapted genotypes: these Resyn lines would be suited to develop heterotic pools in hybrid breeding.

Concepts: Gene, Biodiversity, Population genetics, Rapeseed, Brassica, Canola, Brassicaceae, Triangle of U


Divergent wild and endemic peas differ in hybrid sterility in reciprocal crosses with cultivated pea depending on alleles of a nuclear ‘speciation gene’ involved in nuclear-cytoplasmic compatibility.

Concepts: Gene, Genetics, Pea, Fabaceae, Faboideae, Pisum, Sweet pea


Plant height variation in European winter wheat cultivars is mainly controlled by the Rht - D1 and Rht - B1 semi-dwarfing genes, but also by other medium- or small-effect QTL and potentially epistatic QTL enabling fine adjustments of plant height. Plant height is an important goal in wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) breeding as it affects crop performance and thus yield and quality. The aim of this study was to investigate the genetic control of plant height in European winter wheat cultivars. To this end, a panel of 410 winter wheat varieties from across Europe was evaluated for plant height in multi-location field trials and genotyped for the candidate loci Rht-B1, Rht-D1, Rht8, Ppd-B1 copy number variation and Ppd-D1 as well as by a genotyping-by-sequencing approach yielding 23,371 markers with known map position. We found that Rht-D1 and Rht-B1 had the largest effects on plant height in this cultivar collection explaining 40.9 and 15.5 % of the genotypic variance, respectively, while Ppd-D1 and Rht8 accounted for 3.0 and 2.0 % of the variance, respectively. A genome-wide scan for marker-trait associations yielded two additional medium-effect QTL located on chromosomes 6A and 5B explaining 11.0 and 5.7 % of the genotypic variance after the effects of the candidate loci were accounted for. In addition, we identified several small-effect QTL as well as epistatic QTL contributing to the genetic architecture of plant height. Taken together, our results show that the two Rht-1 semi-dwarfing genes are the major sources of variation in European winter wheat cultivars and that other small- or medium-effect QTL and potentially epistatic QTL enable fine adjustments in plant height.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Genetics, Human genome, Wheat, Spelt, Cultivar, Winter wheat


Development of the first consensus genetic map of intermediate wheatgrass gives insight into the genome and tools for molecular breeding. Intermediate wheatgrass (Thinopyrum intermedium) has been identified as a candidate for domestication and improvement as a perennial grain, forage, and biofuel crop and is actively being improved by several breeding programs. To accelerate this process using genomics-assisted breeding, efficient genotyping methods and genetic marker reference maps are needed. We present here the first consensus genetic map for intermediate wheatgrass (IWG), which confirms the species' allohexaploid nature (2n = 6x = 42) and homology to Triticeae genomes. Genotyping-by-sequencing was used to identify markers that fit expected segregation ratios and construct genetic maps for 13 heterogeneous parents of seven full-sib families. These maps were then integrated using a linear programming method to produce a consensus map with 21 linkage groups containing 10,029 markers, 3601 of which were present in at least two populations. Each of the 21 linkage groups contained between 237 and 683 markers, cumulatively covering 5061 cM (2891 cM–Kosambi) with an average distance of 0.5 cM between each pair of markers. Through mapping the sequence tags to the diploid (2n = 2x = 14) barley reference genome, we observed high colinearity and synteny between these genomes, with three homoeologous IWG chromosomes corresponding to each of the seven barley chromosomes, and mapped translocations that are known in the Triticeae. The consensus map is a valuable tool for wheat breeders to map important disease-resistance genes within intermediate wheatgrass. These genomic tools can help lead to rapid improvement of IWG and development of high-yielding cultivars of this perennial grain that would facilitate the sustainable intensification of agricultural systems.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Genetics, Genome, Genetic linkage, Map, Forage, Thinopyrum intermedium