Conditional QTL mapping of oil content in rapeseed with respect to protein content and traits related to plant development and grain yield
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Oil content in rapeseed (Brassica napus L.) is generally regarded as a character with high heritability that is negatively correlated with protein content and influenced by plant developmental and yield related traits. To evaluate possible genetic interrelationships between these traits and oil content, QTL for oil content were mapped using data on oil content and on oil content conditioned on the putatively interrelated traits. Phenotypic data were evaluated in a segregating doubled haploid population of 282 lines derived from the F1 of a cross between the old German cultivar Sollux and the Chinese cultivar Gaoyou. The material was tested at four locations, two each in Germany and in China. QTLMapper version 1.0 was used for mapping unconditional and conditional QTL with additive (a) and locus pairs with additive × additive epistatic (aa) effects. Clear evidence was found for a strong genetic relationship between oil and protein content. Six QTL and nine epistatic locus pairs were found, which had pleiotropic effects on both traits. Nevertheless, two QTL were also identified, which control oil content independent from protein content and which could be used in practical breeding programs to increase oil content without affecting seed protein content. In addition, six additional QTL with small effects were only identified in the conditional mapping. Some evidence was apparent for a genetic interrelationship between oil content and the number of seeds per silique but no evidence was found for a genetic relationship between oil content and flowering time, grain filling period or single seed weight. The results indicate that for closely correlated traits conditional QTL mapping can be used to dissect the genetic interrelationship between two traits at the level of individual QTL. Furthermore, conditional QTL mapping can reveal additional QTL with small effects that are undetectable in unconditional mapping.