Quantitative trait loci for yield components in oil palm (Elaeis guineensis Jacq.)
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The development of an oil palm RFLP marker map has enabled marker-based QTL mapping studies to be undertaken. Information from 153 RFLP markers was used in combination with phenotypic data from an F2 population to estimate the position and effects of quantitative trait loci (QTLs) for traits including yield of fruit and its components and measures of vegetative growth. The mapping population consisted of 84 palms segregating for the major gene influencing shell thickness. Marker data were analysed to produce a linkage map consisting of 22 linkage groups. The QTL mapping analysis was carried out by interval mapping and single-marker analysis for the unlinked markers; significance thresholds were generated by permutation. Using both single-marker and interval-mapping analysis significant marker associated QTL effects were found for 11 of the 13 traits analysed. The results of interval-mapping analysis of fruit weight, petiole cross section and rachis length, and ratios of shell:fruit, mesocarp:fruit and kernel:fruit indicated significant (P<0.05) QTLs at the genome-wide threshold. The putative QTLs were associated with between 8.2% and 44.0% of the phenotypic variation, with an average of 27% for the single-marker analysis and 19% for the interval-mapping analysis. The higher percentage of phenotypic variation explained in the single-marker analysis, when compared to the interval-mapping analysis, is likely to be due to the lower stringency associated with the single-marker analysis. Large dominance deviations were associated with a sizeable proportion of the putative QTLs. The ultimate objective of mapping QTLs in commercial populations is to utilise novel breeding strategies such as marker-assisted selection (MAS). The potential impact of MAS in oil palm breeding programmes is discussed.
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