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The identification and mapping of candidate genes and QTL involved in the fatty acid desaturation pathway in Brassica napus


We constructed a linkage map for the population QDH, which was derived from a cross between an oilseed rape cultivar and a resynthesised Brassica napus. The linkage map included ten markers linked to loci orthologous to those encoding fatty acid biosynthesis genes in Arabidopsis thaliana. The QDH population contains a high level of allelic variation, particularly in the C genome. We conducted quantitative trait locus (QTL) analyses, using field data obtained over 3 years, for the fatty acid composition of seed oil. The population segregates for the two major loci controlling erucic acid content, on linkage groups A8 and C3, which quantitatively affect the content of other fatty acids and is a problem generally encountered when crossing “wild” germplasm with cultivated “double low” oilseed rape cultivars. We assessed three methods for QTL analysis, interval mapping, multiple QTL mapping and single marker regression analysis of the subset of lines with low erucic acid. We found the third of these methods to be most appropriate for our main purpose, which was the study of the genetic control of the desaturation of 18-carbon fatty acids. This method enabled us to decouple the effect of the segregation of the erucic acid-controlling loci and identify 34 QTL for fatty acid content of seed oil, 14 in the A genome and 20 in the C genome. The QTL indicate the presence of 13 loci with novel alleles inherited from the progenitors of the resynthesised B. napus that might be useful for modulating the content or extent of desaturation of polyunsaturated fatty acids, only one of which coincides with the anticipated position of a candidate gene, an orthologue of FAD2.

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This work was supported by a PhD studentship and competitive support grant to J.I.C. from the UK Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.

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Correspondence to I. Bancroft.

Additional information

A. M. Smooker and R. Wells contributed equally to this work.

Communicated by I. Rajcan.

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Smooker, A.M., Wells, R., Morgan, C. et al. The identification and mapping of candidate genes and QTL involved in the fatty acid desaturation pathway in Brassica napus . Theor Appl Genet 122, 1075–1090 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00122-010-1512-5

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  • Quantitative Trait Locus
  • Linkage Group
  • Simple Sequence Repeat Marker
  • Doubled Haploid
  • Interval Mapping