Theoretical and Applied Genetics

, Volume 130, Issue 8, pp 1649–1667 | Cite as

Deciphering the complex nature of bolting time regulation in Beta vulgaris

  • Conny Tränkner
  • Nina Pfeiffer
  • Martin Kirchhoff
  • Friedrich J. Kopisch-Obuch
  • Henk van Dijk
  • Markus Schilhabel
  • Mario Hasler
  • Nazgol Emrani
Original Article


Key message

Only few genetic loci are sufficient to increase the variation of bolting time in Beta vulgaris dramatically, regarding vernalization requirement, seasonal bolting time and reproduction type.


Beta species show a wide variation of bolting time regarding the year of first reproduction, seasonal bolting time and the number of reproduction cycles. To elucidate the genetics of bolting time control, we used three F3 mapping populations that were produced by crossing a semelparous, annual sugar beet with iteroparous, vernalization-requiring wild beet genotypes. The semelparous plants died after reproduction, whereas iteroparous plants reproduced at least twice. All populations segregated for vernalization requirement, seasonal bolting time and the number of reproduction cycles. We found that vernalization requirement co-segregated with the bolting locus B on chromosome 2 and was inherited independently from semel- or iteroparous reproduction. Furthermore, we found that seasonal bolting time is a highly heritable trait (h 2 > 0.84), which is primarily controlled by two major QTL located on chromosome 4 and 9. Late bolting alleles of both loci act in a partially recessive manner and were identified in both iteroparous pollinators. We observed an additive interaction of both loci for bolting delay. The QTL region on chromosome 4 encompasses the floral promoter gene BvFT2, whereas the QTL on chromosome 9 co-localizes with the BR 1 locus, which controls post-winter bolting resistance. Our findings are applicable for marker-assisted sugar beet breeding regarding early bolting to accelerate generation cycles and late bolting to develop bolting-resistant spring and winter beets. Unexpectedly, one population segregated also for dwarf growth that was found to be controlled by a single locus on chromosome 9.


Quantitative Trait Locus Sugar Beet Vernalization Requirement Selfing Progeny Repeated Reproduction 
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.



We are grateful to Claudia Havel, Hanna Winter, Lara Wostupatsch, Graziella Podda and Monika Bruisch for support and technical assistance in the lab, greenhouse and field. We thank Friedrich Utz for analytic support and thank Gina Capistrano-Goßmann and Christian Jung for helpful discussions. This project was funded through the priority program SPP 1530 of the German Research Foundation (DFG, Grant No. TR 1088/1-1).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

122_2017_2916_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (137 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 136 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Conny Tränkner
    • 1
    • 5
  • Nina Pfeiffer
    • 1
    • 6
  • Martin Kirchhoff
    • 1
    • 7
  • Friedrich J. Kopisch-Obuch
    • 1
    • 8
  • Henk van Dijk
    • 2
  • Markus Schilhabel
    • 3
  • Mario Hasler
    • 4
  • Nazgol Emrani
    • 1
  1. 1.Plant Breeding InstituteUniversity of KielKielGermany
  2. 2.Universite Lille, CNRS, UMR 8198 - Evo-Eco-PaleoLilleFrance
  3. 3.Institute of Clinical Molecular BiologyUniversity of KielKielGermany
  4. 4.Lehrfach VariationsstatistikUniversity of KielKielGermany
  5. 5.Leibniz Institute of Vegetable and Ornamental CropsErfurtGermany
  6. 6.KWS LOCHOW GMBHNortheimGermany
  7. 7.Nordsaat Saatzucht GmbHLangensteinGermany
  8. 8.KWS SAAT SEEinbeckGermany

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