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Genetic control of soybean seed oil: I. QTL and genes associated with seed oil concentration in RIL populations derived from crossing moderately high-oil parents

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Soybean seed is a major source of oil for human consumption worldwide and the main renewable feedstock for biodiesel production in North America. Increasing seed oil concentration in soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merrill] with no or minimal impact on protein concentration could be accelerated by exploiting quantitative trait loci (QTL) or gene-specific markers. Oil concentration in soybean is a polygenic trait regulated by many genes with mostly small effects and which is negatively associated with protein concentration. The objectives of this study were to discover and validate oil QTL in two recombinant inbred line (RIL) populations derived from crosses between three moderately high-oil soybean cultivars, OAC Wallace, OAC Glencoe, and RCAT Angora. The RIL populations were grown across several environments over 2 years in Ontario, Canada. In a population of 203 F3:6 RILs from a cross of OAC Wallace and OAC Glencoe, a total of 11 genomic regions on nine different chromosomes were identified as associated with oil concentration using multiple QTL mapping and single-factor ANOVA. The percentage of the phenotypic variation accounted for by each QTL ranged from 4 to 11 %. Of the five QTL that were tested in a population of 211 F3:5 RILs from the cross RCAT Angora × OAC Wallace, a “trait-based” bidirectional selective genotyping analysis validated four QTL (80 %). In addition, a total of seven two-way epistatic interactions were identified for oil concentration in this study. The QTL and epistatic interactions identified in this study could be used in marker-assisted introgression aimed at pyramiding high-oil alleles in soybean cultivars to increase oil concentration for biodiesel as well as edible oil applications.

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The authors would like to thank the late Dr. G.R. Ablett, and Drs. K.P. Pauls, L.R. Erickson, Y. Kakuda, and A. Navabi (University of Guelph) for their valuable suggestions on this research. Also, the authors are grateful to Wade Montminy, Chris Grainger, Ron Guillemette, Bryan Stirling, Dennis Fischer and the entire soybean crew at the University of Guelph in Guelph and Ridgetown, Ontario, for their excellent technical assistance and support. Generous funding to conduct this research was provided by the Alternative Renewable Fuels II Program of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) and by the Grain Farmers of Ontario.

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Correspondence to Istvan Rajcan.

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Communicated by B. Diers.

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Eskandari, M., Cober, E.R. & Rajcan, I. Genetic control of soybean seed oil: I. QTL and genes associated with seed oil concentration in RIL populations derived from crossing moderately high-oil parents. Theor Appl Genet 126, 483–495 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00122-012-1995-3

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  • Quantitative Trait Locus
  • Recombinant Inbred Line Population
  • Quantitative Trait Locus Allele
  • Putative Quantitative Trait Locus
  • DGAT2 Gene