Does sequence polymorphism of FLC paralogues underlie flowering time QTL in Brassica oleracea?
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Previous locations of flowering time (FT) QTL in several Brassica species, coupled with Arabidopsis synteny, suggest that orthologues of the genes FLC, FY or CONSTANS might be the candidates. We focused on FLC, and cloned paralogous copies in Brassica oleracea, obtained their genomic DNA sequences, and confirmed their locations relative to those of known FT-QTL by genetical mapping. They varied in total length mainly due to the variable size of the first and last introns. A high level of identity was observed among BrassicaFLC genes at the amino acid level but non-synonymous differences were present. Comparative analysis of the promoter and intragenic regions of BoFLC paralogues with ArabidopsisFLC revealed extensive differences in overall structure and organisation but showed high conservation within those segments known to be essential in regulating FLC expression. Four B. oleraceaFLC copies (BoFLC1, BoFLC3, BoFLC4 and BoFLC5) were located to their respective linkage groups based on allelic sequence variation in lines from a doubled haploid population. All except BoFLC4 were within the confidence intervals of known FT-QTL. Sequence data indicated that relevant non-synonymous polymorphisms were present between parents A12DHd and GDDH33 for BoFLC genes. However, BoFLC alleles segregated independently of FT in backcrosses while the study provided evidence that BoFLC4 and BoFLC5 contain premature stop codons and so could not contribute to flowering time variation. Therefore, there is strong evidence against any of the 4 BoFLC being FT-QTL candidates in this population.
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