, Volume 87, Issue 1-2, pp 217-224

Quantitative trait loci influencing protein and starch concentration in the Illinois Long Term Selection maize strains

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A study was initiated to determine the number, chromosomal location, and magnitude of effect of QTL (quantitative trait loci or locus depending on context) controlling protein and starch concentration in the maize (Zea mays L.) kernel. Restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) analysis was performed on 100 F3 families derived from a cross of two strains, Illinois High Protein (IHP), X Illinois Low Protein (ILP), which had been divergently selected for protein concentration for 76 generations as part of the Illinois Long Term Selection Experiment. These families were analyzed for kernel protein and starch in replicated field trials during 1990 and 1991. A series of 90 genomic and cDNA clones distributed throughout the maize genome were chosen for their ability to detect RFLP between IHP and ILP. These clones were hybridized with DNA extracted from the 100 F3 families, revealing 100 polymorphic loci. Single factor analysis of variance revealed significant QTL associations of many loci with both protein and starch concentration (P < 0.05 level). Twenty-two loci distributed on 10 chromosome arms were significantly associated with protein concentration, 19 loci on 9 chromosome arms were significantly associated with starch concentration. Sixteen of these loci were significant for both protein and starch concentration. Clusters of 3 or more significant loci were detected on chromosome arms 3L, 5S, and 7L for protein concentration, suggesting the presence of QTL with large effects at these locations. A QTL with large additive effects on protein and starch concentration was detected on chromosome arm 3L. RFLP alleles at this QTL were found to be linked with RFLP alleles at the Shrunken-2 (Sh2) locus, a structural gene encoding the major subunit of the starch synthetic enzyme ADP-glucose pyrophosphorylase. A multiple linear regression model consisting of 6 significant RFLP loci on different chromosomes explained over 64 % of the total variation for kernel protein concentration. Similar results were detected for starch concentration. Thus, several chromosomal regions with large effects may be responsible for a significant portion of the changes in kernel protein and starch concentration in the Illinois Long Term Selection Experiment.

Communicated by A. R. Hallauer