Theoretical and Applied Genetics

, Volume 114, Issue 2, pp 307–319

High levels of linkage disequilibrium and associations with forage quality at a Phenylalanine Ammonia-Lyase locus in European maize (Zea mays L.) inbreds

  • Jeppe R. Andersen
  • Imad Zein
  • Gerhard Wenzel
  • Birte Krützfeldt
  • Joachim Eder
  • Milena Ouzunova
  • Thomas Lübberstedt
Original Paper


Forage quality of maize is influenced by both the content and structure of lignin in the cell wall. Phenylalanine Ammonia-Lyase (PAL) catalyzes the first step in lignin biosynthesis in plants; the deamination of l-phenylalanine to cinnamic acid. Successive enzymatic steps lead to the formation of three monolignols, constituting the complex structure of lignin. We have cloned and sequenced a PAL genomic sequence from 32 maize inbred lines currently employed in forage maize breeding programs in Europe. Low nucleotide diversity and excessive linkage disequilibrium (LD) was identified at this PAL locus, possibly reflecting selective constrains resulting from PAL being the first enzyme in the monolignol, and other, pathways. While the association analysis was affected by extended LD and population structure, several individual polymorphisms were associated with neutral detergent fiber (not considering population structure) and a single polymorphism was associated with in vitro digestibility of organic matter (considering population structure).



In vitro digestibility of organic matter


Water soluble carbohydrates


Neutral detergent fiber


Digestibility of neutral detergent fiber


Insertion–deletion polymorphism


Linkage disequilibrium


Phenylalanine Ammonia-Lyase


Single nucleotide polymorphism


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeppe R. Andersen
    • 1
  • Imad Zein
    • 2
  • Gerhard Wenzel
    • 2
  • Birte Krützfeldt
    • 3
  • Joachim Eder
    • 3
  • Milena Ouzunova
    • 4
  • Thomas Lübberstedt
    • 1
  1. 1.Danish Institute of Agricultural Sciences, Research Center FlakkebjergSlagelseDenmark
  2. 2.Department of Agronomy and Plant BreedingTechnical University of MunichFreising-WeihenstephanGermany
  3. 3.Bavarian State Research Center for AgricultureFreising-WeihenstephanGermany
  4. 4.KWS Saat AGEinbeckGermany

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