Candidate gene association mapping of Sclerotinia stalk rot resistance in sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) uncovers the importance of COI1 homologs
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Functional markers for Sclerotinia basal stalk rot resistance in sunflower were obtained using gene-level information from the model species Arabidopsis thaliana.
Sclerotinia stalk rot, caused by Sclerotinia sclerotiorum, is one of the most destructive diseases of sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) worldwide. Markers for genes controlling resistance to S. sclerotiorum will enable efficient marker-assisted selection (MAS). We sequenced eight candidate genes homologous to Arabidopsis thaliana defense genes known to be associated with Sclerotinia disease resistance in a sunflower association mapping population evaluated for Sclerotinia stalk rot resistance. The total candidate gene sequence regions covered a concatenated length of 3,791 bp per individual. A total of 187 polymorphic sites were detected for all candidate gene sequences, 149 of which were single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and 38 were insertions/deletions. Eight SNPs in the coding regions led to changes in amino acid codons. Linkage disequilibrium decay throughout the candidate gene regions declined on average to an r 2 = 0.2 for genetic intervals of 120 bp, but extended up to 350 bp with r 2 = 0.1. A general linear model with modification to account for population structure was found the best fitting model for this population and was used for association mapping. Both HaCOI1-1 and HaCOI1-2 were found to be strongly associated with Sclerotinia stalk rot resistance and explained 7.4 % of phenotypic variation in this population. These SNP markers associated with Sclerotinia stalk rot resistance can potentially be applied to the selection of favorable genotypes, which will significantly improve the efficiency of MAS during the development of stalk rot resistant cultivars.
KeywordsLinkage Disequilibrium Association Mapping Linkage Disequilibrium Decay Candidate Gene Locus Sunflower Line
We thank the staff of the USDA-ARS North Central Regional Plant Introduction Station, Ames, Iowa, USA for providing us with germplasm and National Sunflower Association for providing SNP markers. We are very grateful to Drs. John Burke and John Bowers for providing map positions of the candidate genes and critically reviewing the manuscript. We also thank Dr. Z. Liu, M. Ramsett, N. Balbyshev, A. Hogness, A. Jani, and D. Weiskopf for technical assistance. This research was supported by the USDA-ARS National Sclerotinia Initiative, grant number 58-5442-8-230.
Conflict of interest
All experiments detailed herein were conducted in compliance with the applicable laws of the United States and the state of North Dakota. The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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