Original Paper

Theoretical and Applied Genetics

, Volume 111, Issue 2, pp 206-217

Validation of Dwarf8 polymorphisms associated with flowering time in elite European inbred lines of maize (Zea mays L.)

  • Jeppe R. AndersenAffiliated withThe Danish Institute of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Plant Biology, Research Centre Flakkebjerg
  • , Tobias SchragAffiliated withInstitute of Plant Breeding, Seed Science, and Population Genetics, University of Hohenheim
  • , Albrecht E. MelchingerAffiliated withInstitute of Plant Breeding, Seed Science, and Population Genetics, University of Hohenheim
  • , Imad ZeinAffiliated withDepartment of Agronomy and Plant Breeding, Technical University of Munich
  • , Thomas LübberstedtAffiliated withThe Danish Institute of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Plant Biology, Research Centre Flakkebjerg Email author 

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Abstract

The timing of transition from vegetative growth to flowering is important in nature as well as in agriculture. One of several pathways influencing this transition in plants is the gibberellin (GA) pathway. In maize (Zea mays L.), the Dwarf8 (D8) gene has been identified as an orthologue of the gibberellic acid-insensitive (GAI) gene, a negative regulator of GA response in Arabidopsis. Nine intragenic polymorphisms in D8 have been linked with variation in flowering time of maize. We tested the general applicability of these polymorphisms as functional markers in an independent set of inbred lines. Single nucleotide primer extension (SNuPe) and gel-based indel markers were developed, and a set of 71 elite European inbred lines were phenotyped for flowering time and plant height across four environments. To control for population structure, we genotyped the plant material with 55 simple sequence repeat markers evenly distributed across the genome. When population structure was ignored, six of the nine D8 polymorphisms were significantly associated with flowering time and none with plant height. However, when population structure was taken into consideration, an association with flowering time was only detected in a single environment, whereas an association across environments was identified between a 2-bp indel in the promoter region and plant height. As the number of lines with different haplotypes within subpopulations was a limiting factor in the analysis, D8 alleles would need to be compared in isogenic backgrounds for a reliable estimation of allelic effects.