Theoretical and Applied Genetics

, Volume 123, Issue 3, pp 397–409 | Cite as

Genetic architecture of the circadian clock and flowering time in Brassica rapa

  • P. Lou
  • Q. Xie
  • X. Xu
  • C. E. Edwards
  • M. T. Brock
  • C. Weinig
  • C. R. McClungEmail author
Original Paper


The circadian clock serves to coordinate physiology and behavior with the diurnal cycles derived from the daily rotation of the earth. In plants, circadian rhythms contribute to growth and yield and, hence, to both agricultural productivity and evolutionary fitness. Arabidopsis thaliana has served as a tractable model species in which to dissect clock mechanism and function, but it now becomes important to define the extent to which the Arabidopsis model can be extrapolated to other species, including crops. Accordingly, we have extended our studies to the close Arabidopsis relative and crop species, Brassica rapa. We have investigated natural variation in circadian function and flowering time among multiple B. rapa collections. There is wide variation in clock function, based on a robust rhythm in cotyledon movement, within a collection of B. rapa accessions, wild populations and recombinant inbred lines (RILs) derived from a cross between parents from two distinct subspecies, a rapid cycling Chinese cabbage (ssp. pekinensis) and a Yellow Sarson oilseed (ssp. trilocularis). We further analyzed the RILs to identify the quantitative trait loci (QTL) responsible for this natural variation in clock period and temperature compensation, as well as for flowering time under different temperature and day length settings. Most clock and flowering-time QTL mapped to overlapping chromosomal loci. We have exploited micro-synteny between the Arabidopsis and B. rapa genomes to identify candidate genes for these QTL.


Quantitative Trait Locus Circadian Clock Quantitative Trait Locus Analysis Clock Gene Period Length 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This study was supported by a National Science Foundation grant (IOS 0605736) to C.R.M., C.W. and R.M. Amasino. We thank Fede Iñiguez-Luy (Temuco, Chile) for Brassica rapa IRRI RILs and linkage maps and the Centre for Genetic Resources, the Netherlands (CGN), for Brassica rapa accessions.

Supplementary material

122_2011_1592_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (3.8 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 3890 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. Lou
    • 1
  • Q. Xie
    • 1
  • X. Xu
    • 1
    • 3
  • C. E. Edwards
    • 2
  • M. T. Brock
    • 2
  • C. Weinig
    • 2
  • C. R. McClung
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Biological Sciences, 6044 Gilman LaboratoriesDartmouth CollegeHanoverUSA
  2. 2.Department of BotanyUniversity of WyomingLaramieUSA
  3. 3.Hebei Key Laboratory of Molecular Cell Biology, College of Biological SciencesHebei Normal UniversityShijiazhuangChina

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