Identification and mode of action of quantitative trait loci affecting seedling height and leaf area in Eucalyptus nitens
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Regions of the genome influencing height and leaf area in seedlings of a three-generation outbred pedigree of Eucalyptus nitens have been identified. Three QTLs affecting height and two QTLs affecting leaf area were located using single-factor analysis of variance. The three QTLs affecting height each explained between 10.3 and 14.7% of the phenotypic variance, while the two QTLs for leaf area each explained between 9.8 and 11.6% of the phenotypic variation. Analysis of fully informative marker loci linked to the QTLs enabled the mode of action of the QTLs to be investigated. For three loci the QTL effect segregated from only one parent, while for two loci the QTL showed multiple alleles and the effect segregated from both parents in the pedigree. The two QTLs affecting leaf area were located in the same regions as two of the QTLs affecting height. Analysis of these regions with fully informative markers showed that both QTLs were linked to the same markers, but one had a similar size of effects and a similar mode of action for both height and leaf area, whilst the other showed a different mode of action for the two traits. These regions may contain two closely linked genes or may involve a single gene with a pleiotrophic effect on both height and leaf area. The QTL with the greatest effect showed multiple alleles and an intra-locus interaction that reduced the size of the effect. Assessment for two of the QTLs in a second related family did not show an effect associated with the marker loci; however, this was consistent with the mode of action of these QTLs and the pattern of inheritance in the second family.
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