Genetic and Morphometric Analysis of Cob Architecture and Biomass-Related Traits in the Intermated B73 × Mo17 Recombinant Inbred Lines of Maize
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- Jansen, C., de Leon, N., Lauter, N. et al. Bioenerg. Res. (2013) 6: 903. doi:10.1007/s12155-013-9319-2
Expected future cellulosic ethanol production increases the demand for biomass in the US Corn Belt. With low nutritious value, low nitrogen content, and compact biomass, maize cobs can provide a significant amount of cellulosic materials. The value of maize cobs depends on cob architecture, chemical composition, and their relation to grain yield as primary trait. Eight traits including cob volume, fractional diameters, length, weight, tissue density, and grain yield have been analyzed in this quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping experiment to evaluate their inheritance and inter-relations. One hundred eighty-four recombinant inbred lines of the intermated B73 × Mo17 (IBM) Syn 4 population were evaluated from an experiment carried out at three locations and analyzed using genotypic information of 1,339 public SNP markers. QTL detection was performed using (1) comparison-wise thresholds with reselection of cofactors (α = 0.001) and (2) empirical logarithm of odds score thresholds (P = 0.05). Several QTL with small genetic effects (R2 = 2.9–13.4 %) were found, suggesting a complex quantitative inheritance of all traits. Increased cob tissue density was found to add value to the residual without a commensurate negative impact on grain yield and therefore enables for simultaneous selection for cob biomass and grain yield.