Molecular dissection of complex traits in autopolyploids: mapping QTLs affecting sugar yield and related traits in sugarcane
Mapping quantitative trait loci (QTLs) for sugar yield and related traits will provide essential information for sugarcane improvement through marker-assisted selection. Two sugarcane segregating populations derived from interspecific crosses between Saccharum offinarum and Saccharum spontaneum with 264 and 239 individuals, respectively, were evaluated in three replications each for field performance from 1994 to 1996 at Weslaco, Texas. These two populations were analyzed for a total of 735 DNA marker loci to seek QTLs for sugar yield, pol, stalk weight, stalk number, fiber content and ash content. Among the 102 significant associations found between these six traits and DNA markers, 61 could be located on sugarcane linkage maps, while the other 41 were associated with unlinked DNA markers. Fifty of the 61 mapped QTLs were clustered in 12 genomic regions of seven sugarcane homologous groups. Many cases in which QTLs from different genotypes mapped to corresponding locations suggested that at least some of the QTLs on the same cluster might be different allelic forms of the same genes. With a few exceptions that explained part of the transgressive segregation observed for particular traits, the allele effects of most QTLs were consistent with the parental phenotype from which the allele was derived. Plants with a high sugar yield possessed a large number of positive QTLs for sugar yield components and a minimal number of negative QTLs. This indicates the potential effectiveness of marker-assisted selection for sugar yield in sugarcane.
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