A key candidate gene, GRMZM2G110141, which could be used in marker-assisted selection in maize breeding programs, was detected among the 16 genetic loci associated with waterlogging toleranceidentified through genome-wide association study.



Waterlogging stress seriously affects the growth and development of upland crops such as maize (Zea maysL.). However, the genetic basis of waterlogging tolerance in crop plants is largely unknown. Here, we identified genetic loci for waterlogging tolerance-related traits by conducting a genome-wide association study using maize phenotypes evaluated in the greenhouse under waterlogging stress and normal conditions. A total of 110 trait-single nucleotide polymorphism associations spanning 16 genomic regions were identified; single associations explained 2.88–10.67% of the phenotypic variance. Among the genomic regions identified, 14 co-localized with previously detected waterlogging tolerance-related quantitative trail loci. Furthermore, 33 candidate genes involved in a wide range of stress-response pathways were predicted. We resequenced a key candidate gene (GRMZM2G110141) in 138 randomly selected inbred lines and found that variations in the 5ʹ-UTR and in the mRNA abundance of this gene under waterlogging conditions were significantly associated with leaf injury. Furthermore, we detected favorable alleles of this gene and validated the favorable alleles in two different recombinant inbred line populations. These alleles enhanced waterlogging tolerance in segregating populations, strongly suggesting that GRMZM2G110141 is a key waterlogging tolerance gene. The set of waterlogging tolerance-related genomic regions and associated markers identified here could be valuable for isolating waterlogging tolerance genes and improving this trait in maize.


See: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00122-018-3152-0