Molecular Breeding

, Volume 27, Issue 4, pp 491–499 | Cite as

Identification of novel QTL contributing resistance to aflatoxin accumulation in maize

  • Marilyn L. Warburton
  • Thomas D. Brooks
  • Gary L. Windham
  • W. Paul Williams


The toxic metabolic product aflatoxin produced by the opportunistic fungus Aspergillus flavus (Link:Fr) in maize (Zea mays L.) can cause disease and economic harm when levels exceed very minute quantities. The selection of resistant germplasm has great potential to reduce the problem, but the highly quantitative nature of the trait makes this a difficult endeavor. The identification of aflatoxin accumulation resistance quantitative trait loci (QTL) from resistant donor lines and the discovery of linked markers could speed this task. To identify marker–trait associations for marker-assisted breeding, a genetic mapping population of F2:3 families was developed from Mp715, a maize inbred line resistant to aflatoxin accumulation, and T173, a susceptible, southern-adapted maize inbred line. QTL, some with large phenotypic effects, were identified in multiple years on chromosomes 1, 3, 5, and 10, and smaller QTL identified in only 1 year were found on chromosomes 4 and 9. The phenotypic effect of each QTL ranged from 2.7 to 18.5%, and models created with multiple QTL could explain up to 45.7% of the phenotypic variation across years, indicating that the variation associated with the trait can be manipulated using molecular markers.


Aspergillus flavus Aflatoxin Quantitative trait loci Maize (Zea mays L.) Host plant resistance Molecular markers 



The authors express their appreciation for the technical assistance of J. A. Haynes and L. T. Owens, critical reviews and suggestions by Martha Wilcox and Rita Mumm, and statistical advice from D. Rowe. Mention of trade names or commercial products in this publication is solely for the purpose of providing specific information and does not imply recommendation or endorsement by the US Department of Agriculture.


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Copyright information

© US Government 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marilyn L. Warburton
    • 1
  • Thomas D. Brooks
    • 2
  • Gary L. Windham
    • 1
  • W. Paul Williams
    • 1
  1. 1.USDA-ARS Corn Host Plant Resistance Research UnitMississippi StateUSA
  2. 2.West Gaines Seed and Delinting Inc.SeminoleUSA

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