Quantitative trait loci controlling phenotypes related to the perennial versus annual habit in wild relatives of maize
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- Westerbergh, A. & Doebley, J. Theor Appl Genet (2004) 109: 1544. doi:10.1007/s00122-004-1778-6
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We used quantitative trait locus/loci (QTL) mapping to study the inheritance of traits associated with perennialism in a cross between an annual (Zea mays ssp. parviglumis) and a perennial (Z. diploperennis) species of teosinte. The most striking difference between these species is that Z. diploperennis forms rhizomes, whereas Z. mays ssp. parviglumis lacks these over-wintering underground stems. An F2 population of 425 individuals was genotyped at 95 restriction fragment length polymorphism marker loci and the association between phenotype and genotype was analyzed by composite interval mapping. We detected a total of 38 QTL for eight traits. The number of QTL found for each trait ranged from two for rhizome formation to nine for tillering. QTL for six of the traits mapped near each other on chromosome 2, and QTL for four traits mapped near each other on chromosome 6, suggesting that these regions play an important role in the evolution of the perennial habit in teosinte. Most of the 38 QTL had small effects, and no single QTL showed a strikingly large effect. The map positions that we determined for rhizome formation and other traits in teosinte may help to locate corresponding QTL in pasture and turf grasses used as forage for cattle and for erosion control in agro-ecosystems.