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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 1, 2023
  2. Abstract Key message

    We investigate the genetic basis of panicle architecture in switchgrass in two mapping populations across a latitudinal gradient, and find many stable, repeatable genetic effects and limited genetic interactions with the environment.


    Grass species exhibit large diversity in panicle architecture influenced by genes, the environment, and their interaction. The genetic study of panicle architecture in perennial grasses is limited. In this study, we evaluate the genetic basis of panicle architecture including panicle length, primary branching number, and secondary branching number in an outcrossed switchgrass QTL population grown across ten field sites in the central USA through multi-environment mixed QTL analysis. We also evaluate genetic effects in a diversity panel of switchgrass grown at three of the ten field sites using genome-wide association (GWAS) and multivariate adaptive shrinkage. Furthermore, we search for candidate genes underlying panicle traits in both of these independent mapping populations. Overall, 18 QTL were detected in the QTL mapping population for the three panicle traits, and 146 unlinked genomic regions in the diversity panel affected one or more panicle trait. Twelve of the QTL exhibited consistent effects (i.e., no QTL by environment interactions or no QTL × E), and most (four of six) of the effects withmore »QTL × E exhibited site-specific effects. Most (59.3%) significant partially linked diversity panel SNPs had significant effects in all panicle traits and all field sites and showed pervasive pleiotropy and limited environment interactions. Panicle QTL co-localized with significant SNPs found using GWAS, providing additional power to distinguish between true and false associations in the diversity panel.

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  3. Abstract Background Physical seed dormancy is an important trait in legume domestication. Although seed dormancy is beneficial in wild ecosystems, it is generally considered to be an undesirable trait in crops due to reduction in yield and / or quality. The physiological mechanism and underlying genetic factor(s) of seed dormancy is largely unknown in several legume species. Here we employed an integrative approach to understand the mechanisms controlling physical seed dormancy in common bean ( Phaseolus vulgaris L.). Results Using an innovative CT scan imaging system, we were able to track water movements inside the seed coat. We found that water uptake initiates from the bean seed lens. Using a scanning electron microscopy (SEM) we further identified several micro-cracks on the lens surface of non-dormant bean genotypes. Bulked segregant analysis (BSA) was conducted on a bi-parental RIL (recombinant inbred line) population, segregating for seed dormancy. This analysis revealed that the seed water uptake is associated with a single major QTL on Pv03. The QTL region was fine-mapped to a 118 Kb interval possessing 11 genes. Coding sequence analysis of candidate genes revealed a 5-bp insertion in an ortholog of pectin acetylesterase 8 that causes a frame shift, loss-of-function mutation inmore »non-dormant genotype. Gene expression analysis of the candidate genes in the seed coat of contrasting genotypes indicated 21-fold lower expression of pectin acetylesterase 8 in non-dormant genotype. An analysis of mutational polymorphism was conducted among wild and domesticated beans. Although all the wild beans possessed the functional allele of pectin acetylesterase 8 , the majority (77%) of domesticated beans had the non-functional allele suggesting that this variant was under strong selection pressure through domestication. Conclusions In this study, we identified the physiological mechanism of physical seed dormancy and have identified a candidate allele causing variation in this trait. Our findings suggest that a 5-bp insertion in an ortholog of pectin acetylesterase 8 is likely a major causative mutation underlying the loss of seed dormancy during domestication. Although the results of current study provide strong evidences for the role of pectin acetylesterase 8 in seed dormancy, further confirmations seem necessary by employing transgenic approaches.« less
  4. Wisser, R J (Ed.)
    Abstract Ionomics measures elemental concentrations in biological organisms and provides a snapshot of physiology under different conditions. In this study, we evaluate genetic variation of the ionome in outbred, perennial switchgrass in three environments across the species’ native range, and explore patterns of genotype-by-environment interactions. We grew 725 clonally replicated genotypes of a large full sib family from a four-way linkage mapping population, created from deeply diverged upland and lowland switchgrass ecotypes, at three common gardens. Concentrations of 18 mineral elements were determined in whole post-anthesis tillers using ion coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). These measurements were used to identify quantitative trait loci (QTL) with and without QTL-by-environment interactions (QTLxE) using a multi-environment QTL mapping approach. We found that element concentrations varied significantly both within and between switchgrass ecotypes, and GxE was present at both the trait and QTL level. Concentrations of 14 of the 18 elements were under some genetic control, and 77 QTL were detected for these elements. Seventy-four percent of QTL colocalized multiple elements, half of QTL exhibited significant QTLxE, and roughly equal numbers of QTL had significant differences in magnitude and sign of their effects across environments. The switchgrass ionome is under moderate genetic control andmore »by loci with highly variable effects across environments.« less