Genome-wide association study reveals the genetic architecture of flowering time in rapeseed (Brassica napus L.).
ABSTRACT: Flowering time adaptation is a major breeding goal in the allopolyploid species Brassica napus. To investigate the genetic architecture of flowering time, a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of flowering time was conducted with a diversity panel comprising 523 B. napus cultivars and inbred lines grown in eight different environments. Genotyping was performed with a Brassica 60K Illumina Infinium SNP array. A total of 41 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) distributed on 14 chromosomes were found to be associated with flowering time, and 12 SNPs located in the confidence intervals of quantitative trait loci (QTL) identified in previous researches based on linkage analyses. Twenty-five candidate genes were orthologous to Arabidopsis thaliana flowering genes. To further our understanding of the genetic factors influencing flowering time in different environments, GWAS was performed on two derived traits, environment sensitivity and temperature sensitivity. The most significant SNPs were found near Bn-scaff_16362_1-p380982, just 13 kb away from BnaC09g41990D, which is orthologous to A. thaliana CONSTANS (CO), an important gene in the photoperiod flowering pathway. These results provide new insights into the genetic control of flowering time in B. napus and indicate that GWAS is an effective method by which to reveal natural variations of complex traits in B. napus.
Project description:Life cycle timing is critical for yield and productivity of Brassica napus (rapeseed) cultivars grown in different environments. To facilitate breeding for earliness traits in rapeseed, SNP loci and underlying candidate genes associated with the timing of initial flowering, maturity and final flowering, as well as flowering period (FP) were investigated in two environments in a diversity panel comprising 300 B. napus inbred lines. Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) using 201,817 SNP markers previously developed from SLAF-seq (specific locus amplified fragment sequencing) revealed a total of 131 SNPs strongly linked (P?<?4.96E-07) to the investigated traits. Of these 131 SNPs, 40 fell into confidence intervals or were physically adjacent to previously published flowering time QTL or SNPs. Phenotypic effect analysis detected 35 elite allelic variants for early maturing, and 90 for long FP. Candidate genes present in the same linkage disequilibrium blocks (r2>0.6) or in 100 kb regions around significant trait-associated SNPs were screened, revealing 57 B. napus genes (33 SNPs) orthologous to 39 Arabidopsis thaliana flowering time genes. These results support the practical and scientific value of novel large-scale SNP data generation in uncovering the genetic control of agronomic traits in B. napus, and also provide a theoretical basis for molecular marker-assisted selection of earliness breeding in rapeseed.
Project description:Flowering time genes have a strong influence on successful reproduction and life cycle adaptation. However, their regulation is highly complex and only well understood in diploid model systems. For crops with a polyploid background from the genus Brassica, data on flowering time gene variation are scarce, although indispensable for modern breeding techniques like marker-assisted breeding. We have deep-sequenced all paralogs of 35 Arabidopsis thaliana flowering regulators using Sequence Capture followed by Illumina sequencing in two selected accessions of the vegetable species Brassica rapa and Brassica oleracea, respectively. Using these data, we were able to call SNPs, InDels and copy number variations (CNVs) for genes from the total flowering time network including central flowering regulators, but also genes from the vernalisation pathway, the photoperiod pathway, temperature regulation, the circadian clock and the downstream effectors. Comparing the results to a complementary data set from the allotetraploid species Brassica napus, we detected rearrangements in B. napus which probably occurred early after the allopolyploidisation event. Those data are both a valuable resource for flowering time research in those vegetable species, as well as a contribution to speciation genetics.
Project description:Genetic models for polyploid crop adaptation provide important information relevant for future breeding prospects. A well-suited model is Brassica napus, a recent allopolyploid closely related to Arabidopsis thaliana. Flowering time is a major adaptation trait determining life cycle synchronization with the environment. Here we unravel natural genetic variation in B. napus flowering time regulators and investigate associations with evolutionary diversification into different life cycle morphotypes. Deep sequencing of 35 flowering regulators was performed in 280 diverse B. napus genotypes. High sequencing depth enabled high-quality calling of single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), insertion-deletions (InDels) and copy number variants (CNVs). By combining these data with genotyping data from the Brassica 60?K Illumina® Infinium SNP array, we performed a genome-wide marker distribution analysis across the 4 ecogeographical morphotypes. Twelve haplotypes, including Bna.FLC.A10, Bna.VIN3.A02 and the Bna.FT promoter on C02_random, were diagnostic for the diversification of winter and spring types. The subspecies split between oilseed/kale (B. napus ssp. napus) and swedes/rutabagas (B. napus ssp. napobrassica) was defined by 13 haplotypes, including genomic rearrangements encompassing copies of Bna.FLC, Bna.PHYA and Bna.GA3ox1. De novo variation in copies of important flowering-time genes in B. napus arose during allopolyploidisation, enabling sub-functionalisation that allowed different morphotypes to appropriately fine-tune their lifecycle.
Project description:Flowering time is a key agronomic trait, directly influencing crop yield and quality. Many flowering-time genes have been identified and characterized in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana; however, these genes remain uncharacterized in many agronomically important Brassica crops. In this study, we identified 1064, 510, and 524 putative orthologs of A. thaliana flowering-time genes from Brassica napus, Brassica rapa, and Brassica oleracea, respectively, and found that genes involved in the aging and ambient temperature pathways were fewer than those in other flowering pathways. Flowering-time genes were distributed mostly on chromosome C03 in B. napus and B. oleracea, and on chromosome A09 in B. rapa. Calculation of non-synonymous (Ka)/synonymous substitution (Ks) ratios suggested that flowering-time genes in vernalization pathways experienced higher selection pressure than those in other pathways. Expression analysis showed that most vernalization-pathway genes were expressed in flowering organs. Approximately 40% of these genes were highly expressed in the anther, whereas flowering-time integrator genes were expressed in a highly organ-specific manner. Evolutionary selection pressures were negatively correlated with the breadth and expression levels of vernalization-pathway genes. These findings provide an integrated framework of flowering-time genes in these three Brassica crops and provide a foundation for deciphering the relationship between gene expression patterns and their evolutionary selection pressures in Brassica napus.
Project description:Oilseed rape (Brassica napus L.) is a major oil crop which is grown worldwide. Adaptation to different environments and regional climatic conditions involves variation in the regulation of flowering time. Winter types have a strong vernalization requirement whereas semi-winter and spring types have a low vernalization requirement or flower without exposure to cold, respectively. In Arabidopsis thaliana, FRIGIDA (FRI) is a key regulator which inhibits floral transition through activation of FLOWERING LOCUS C (FLC), a central repressor of flowering which controls vernalization requirement and response. Here, four FRI homologues in B. napus were identified by BAC library screening and PCR-based cloning. While all homologues are expressed, two genes were found to be differentially expressed in aerial plant organs. One of these, BnaA.FRI.a, was mapped to a region on chromosome A03 which co-localizes with a major flowering time quantitative trait locus in multiple environments in a doubled-haploid mapping population. Association analysis of BnaA.FRI.a revealed that six SNPs, including at least one at a putative functional site, and one haplotype block, respectively, are associated with flowering time variation in 248 accessions, with flowering times differing by 13-19 d between extreme haplotypes. The results from both linkage analysis and association mapping indicate that BnaA.FRI.a is a major determinant of flowering time in oilseed rape, and suggest further that this gene also contributes to the differentiation between growth types. The putative functional polymorphisms identified here may facilitate adaptation of this crop to specific environments through marker-assisted breeding.
Project description:Background:Brassica napus is one of the most important oilseed crops, and also an important biofuel plant due to its low air pollution and renewability. Growth period are important traits that affect yield and are crucial for its adaptation to different environments in B. napus. Results:To elucidate the genetic basis of growth period traits, genome-wide association analysis (GWAS) and linkage mapping were employed to detect the quantitative trait loci (QTL) for days to initial flowering (DIF), days to final flowering (DFF), flowering period (FP), maturity time (MT), and whole growth period (GP). A total of 146 SNPs were identified by association mapping, and 83 QTLs were identified by linkage mapping using the RIL population. Among these QTLs, 19 were pleiotropic SNPs related to multiple traits, and six (q18DFF.A03-2, q18MT.A03-2, q17DFF.A05-1, q18FP.C04, q17DIF.C05 and q17GP.C09) were consistently detected using both mapping methods. Additionally, we performed RNA sequencing to analyze the differential expression of gene (DEG) transcripts between early- and late-flowering lines selected from the RIL population, and the DEGs were integrated with association mapping and linkage analysis to confirm their roles in the growth period. Consequently, 12 candidate genes associated with growth period traits were identified in B. napus. Among these genes, seven have polymorphic sites in the coding sequence and the upstream 2-kb sequence based on the resequencing data. The haplotype BnaSOC1.A05-Haplb and BnaLNK2.C06-Hapla showed more favorable phenotypic traits. Conclusions:The candidate genes identified in this study will contribute to our genetic understanding of growth period traits and can be used as targets for target mutations or marker-assisted breeding for rapeseed adapted to different environments.
Project description:Hypocotyl elongation is considered an important typical seedling trait contributing directly to an increase in and stabilization of the yield in Brassica napus, but its molecular genetic mechanism is poorly understood. In the present study, hypocotyl lengths of 210 lines were measured in an illuminated culture room. A genome-wide association study (GWAS) was performed with 23,435 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) for hypocotyl length. Three lines with long hypocotyl length and three lines with short hypocotyl length from one doubled haploid line (DH) population were used for transcriptome sequencing. A GWAS followed by transcriptome analysis identified 29 differentially expressed genes associated with significant SNPs in B. napus. These genes regulate hypocotyl elongation by mediating flowering morphogenesis, circadian clock, hormone biosynthesis, or important metabolic signaling pathways. Among these genes, BnaC07g46770D negatively regulates hypocotyl elongation directly, as well as flowering time. Our results indicate that a joint GWAS and transcriptome analysis has significant potential for identifying the genes responsible for hypocotyl elongation; The extension of hypocotyl is a complex biological process regulated by a polygenic network.
Project description:Soil salinity is a serious threat to agriculture sustainability worldwide. Salt tolerance at the seedling stage is crucial for plant establishment and high yield in saline soils; however, little information is available on rapeseed (Brassica napus L.) salt tolerance. We evaluated salt tolerance in different rapeseed accessions and conducted a genome-wide association study (GWAS) to identify salt tolerance-related quantitative trait loci (QTL). A natural population comprising 368 B. napus cultivars and inbred lines was genotyped with a Brassica 60K Illumina Infinium SNP array. The results revealed that 75 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) distributed across 14 chromosomes were associated with four salt tolerance-related traits. These SNPs integrated into 25 QTLs that explained 4.21-9.23% of the phenotypic variation in the cultivars. Additionally, 38 possible candidate genes were identified in genomic regions associated with salt tolerance indices. These genes fell into several functional groups that are associated with plant salt tolerance, including transcription factors, aquaporins, transporters, and enzymes. Thus, salt tolerance in rapeseed involves complex molecular mechanisms. Our results provide valuable information for studying the genetic control of salt tolerance in B. napus seedlings and may facilitate marker-based breeding for rapeseed salt tolerance.
Project description:Sclerotinia stem rot (SSR) caused by the necrotrophic fungus <i>Sclerotinia sclerotiorum</i> is a major disease in rapeseed (<i>Brassica napus</i>) worldwide. Breeding for SSR resistance in <i>B. napus</i>, as in other crops, relies only on germplasms with quantitative resistance genes. A better understanding of the genetic basis for SSR resistance in <i>B. napus</i> thus holds promise for the genetic improvement of disease resistance. In the present study, a genome-wide association study (GWAS) for SSR resistance in <i>B. napus</i> were performed using an association panel of 448 accessions genotyped with the <i>Brassica</i> 60K Infinium<sup>®</sup> single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) array. A total of 26 SNPs corresponding to three loci, <i>DSRC4</i>, <i>DSRC6</i>, and <i>DSRC8</i> were associated with SSR resistance. Haplotype analysis showed that the three favorable alleles for SSR resistance exhibited cumulative effects. After aligning SSR resistance quantitative trait loci (QTL) identified in the present and previous studies to the <i>B. napus</i> reference genome, one locus (<i>DSRC6</i>) was found to be located within the confidence interval of a QTL identified in previous QTL mapping studies and another two loci (<i>DSRC4</i> and <i>DSRC8</i>) were considered novel loci for SSR resistance. A total of 39 candidate genes were predicted for the three loci based on the GWAS combining with the differentially expressed genes identified in previous transcriptomics analyses.
Project description:Changes in the rapeseed branch angle alter plant architecture, allowing more efficient light capture as planting density increases. In this study, a natural population of rapeseed was grown in three environments and evaluated for branch angle trait to characterize their phenotypic patterns and genotype with a 60K Brassica Infinium SNP array. Significant phenotypic variation was observed from 20 to 70°. As a result, 25 significant quantitative trait loci (QTL) associated with branch angle were identified on chromosomes A2, A3, A7, C3, C5, and C7 by the MLM model in TASSEL 4.0. Orthologs of the functional candidate genes involved in branch angle were identified. Among the key QTL, the peak SNPs were close to the key orthologous genes BnaA.Lazy1 and BnaC.Lazy1 on A3 and C3 homologous genome blocks. With the exception of Lazy (LA) orthologous genes, SQUMOSA PROMOTER BINDING PROTEIN LIKE 14 (SPL14) and an auxin-responsive GRETCHEN HAGEN 3 (GH3) genes from Arabidopsis thaliana were identified close to two clusters of SNPs on the A7 and C7 chromosomes. These findings on multiple novel loci and candidate genes of branch angle will be useful for further understanding and genetic improvement of plant architecture in rapeseed.