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Genetic architecture of tipburn resistance in lettuce


Key message

Two major QTLs for tipburn were identified in LGs 1 and 5 contributing to resistance in cv. Salinas. The findings suggest pleiotropic effects between leaf crinkliness/savoy and tipburn.


Tipburn is a physiological disorder in lettuce that is thought to be caused by a localized deficiency of calcium in leaf tissues. To elucidate the genetic architecture of resistance to tipburn in lettuce, seven recombinant inbred line populations were analyzed in multiple environments and years to identify quantitative trait loci (QTLs) for tipburn. Core height, head firmness, head closure, leaf crinkliness, plant fresh weight, and leaf savoy were also analyzed to investigate whether QTLs for these morphological traits collocated with QTLs for tipburn, which would be indicative of pleiotropic effects. Twenty-three major, intermediate, and minor unique QTLs for tipburn were identified in one or more populations scattered throughout the genome. Two major QTLs for tipburn incidence were identified in linkage groups (LGs) 1 and 5, which determined up to 45 and 66% of the phenotypic variance. The major QTL in LG 1 collocated with the head firmness QTL. The major QTL in LG 5 collocated with the QTL for core height, leaf crinkliness, and head firmness. Further research is needed to determine whether these associations are due to pleiotropic effects of the same gene or if the genes determining these traits are tightly linked. The beneficial alleles at the QTLs in LGs 1 and 5 are present in Lactuca sativa cv. Salinas, the genotype sequenced for the reference genome assembly. Therefore, these QTLs are good targets to identify genes causing tipburn as well as regions for marker-assisted selection to improve resistance to tipburn in lettuce.

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Special thanks to members of the Michelmore lab, USDA-ARS Salinas Crop Improvement and Protection Research Unit, and University of Arizona Yuma Agricultural Center for their help in conducting and collecting data for some of these experiments. This work was supported by the California Leafy Greens Research Program (2010-51181-21631) and the United States Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Specialty Crop Research Initiative program award (2015-51181-24283).

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Correspondence to R. W. Michelmore.

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Communicated by Sanwen Huang.

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Macias-González, M., Truco, M.J., Bertier, L.D. et al. Genetic architecture of tipburn resistance in lettuce. Theor Appl Genet 132, 2209–2222 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00122-019-03349-6

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