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Identification of QTL underlying isoflavone contents in soybean seeds among multiple environments

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Soybean isoflavones are valued in certain medicines, cosmetics, foods and feeds. Selection for high-isoflavone content in seeds along with agronomic traits is a goal of many soybean breeders. The aim of the study was to identify the quantitative trait loci (QTL) underlying seed isoflavone content in soybean among seven environments in China. A cross was made between ‘Zhongdou 27’, a soybean cultivar with higher mean isoflavone content in the seven environments (daidzein, DZ, 1,865 μg g−1; genistein, GT, 1,614 μg g−1; glycitein, GC, 311 μg g−1 and total isoflavone, TI, 3,791 μg g−1) and ‘Jiunong 20’, a soybean cultivar with lower isoflavone content (DZ, 844 μg g−1; GT, 1,046 μg g−1; GC, 193 μg g−1 and TI, 2,061 μg g−1). Through single-seed-descent, 130 F5-derived F6 recombinant inbred lines were advanced. A total of 99 simple-sequence repeat markers were used to construct a genetic linkage map. Seed isoflavone contents were analyzed using high-performance liquid chromatography for multiple years and locations (Harbin in 2005, 2006 and 2007, Hulan in 2006 and 2007, and Suihua in 2006 and 2007). Three QTL were associated with DZ content, four with GT content, three with GC content, and five with TI content. For all QTL detected the beneficial allele was from Zhongdou 27. QTL were located on three (DZ), three (GC), four (GT) and five (TI) molecular linkage groups (LG). A novel QTL was detected with marker Satt144 on LG F that was associated with DZ (0.0014 > P > 0.0001, 5% < R 2 < 11%; 254 < DZ < 552 μg g−1), GT (0.0027 > P > 0.0001; 4% < R 2 < 9%; 262 < GT < 391 μg g−1), and TI (0.0011 > P > 0.0001; 4% < R 2 < 15%; 195 < TI < 871 μg g−1) across the various environments. A previously reported QTL on LG M detected by Satt540 was associated with TI across four environments and TI mean (0.0022 > P > 0.0001; 3% < R 2 < 8%; 182 < TI < 334 μg g−1) in China. Because both beneficial alleles were from Zhongdou 27, it was concluded that these two QTL would have the greatest potential value for marker-assisted selection for high-isoflavone content in soybean seed in China.

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This study was conducted in the Key Laboratory of Soybean Biology of Chinese Education Ministry and financially supported by National 863 Projects (contract No. 2006AA10Z1F and 2006AA100104-4), National 973 Project (2004CB117203-4), National Nature Foundation Program (30671318), and Science and Technology Project of Heilongjiang Province (GA06B 101-1-3).

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Correspondence to Wenbin Li.

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G. Zeng, D. Li and Y. Han have equal contributions to the paper.

Communicated by D. Lightfoot.

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Zeng, G., Li, D., Han, Y. et al. Identification of QTL underlying isoflavone contents in soybean seeds among multiple environments. Theor Appl Genet 118, 1455–1463 (2009).

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  • QTL
  • SSR
  • MAS
  • Soybean
  • Isoflavone