, Volume 153, Issue 1-2, pp 43-57

Characterization of flowering time and SSR marker analysis of spring and winter type Brassica napus L. germplasm

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Abstract

Flowering dates and life forms of all available Brassica napus accessions conserved at the North Central Regional Plant Introduction Station (NCRPIS) were characterized, and a survey of molecular variation was conducted by using simple sequence repeats (SSR) in order to support better management of accessions with diverse life forms. To characterize flowering phenology, 598 B. napus accessions from the NCRPIS collection were planted in Iowa and Kansas field sites together with a current commercial cultivar and observed for days to flowering (first, 50% and 100% flowering) in 2003. Days from planting to 50% flowering ranged from 34 to 83 in Iowa and from 53 to 89 in Kansas. The mean accumulated growing degree days (GDD) to 50% flowering were 1,997 in Iowa, and 2,106 in Kansas. Between locations, the correlation in flowering time (r = 0.42) and the correlation in computed GDD (r = 0.40) were both significant. Differences in flowering-time rank were observed for several accessions. Accessions that failed to flower in Iowa in a single growing season comprised 28.5% of the accessions; of the flowering accessions, 100% plant flowering was not always achieved. Accessions were grouped according to flowering time. A stratified sample of 50 accessions was selected from these groups, including 10 non-flowering and 40 flowering accessions of diverse geographic origins and phenological variation. The flowering time observed in the sampled accessions when grown in the greenhouse were found to be significantly correlated to the flowering time observed in the field locations in Iowa (r = 0.79) and Kansas (r = 0.49). Thirty SSR markers, selected across 18 Brassica linkage groups from BrassicaDB, and 3 derived from Brassica expressed sequence tags (ESTs) were scored in the stratified sample. An average of three bands per SSR primer pair was observed. Associations of SSR marker fragments with the life forms were determined. Analysis of molecular variation by using cluster analysis and ordination resulted in recognizable, distinct groups of annual and biennial life-form types, which may have direct applications for planning and management of future seed regenerations.

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