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The Crop Journal




Root system architecture (RSA) contributes to nitrogen (N) uptake and utilization in maize. In this study, a germplasm enhancement of maize double haploid population of 226 lines genotyped with 61,634 SNPs was used to investigate the genetic basis of RSA under two N levels using a genome-wide association study (GWAS). GLM + PCA, FarmCPU, and MLM models were utilized to balance false positives and false negatives. In total, 33 and 51 significant SNP-trait associations were detected under high and low N conditions, respectively. Under high N, SNP S9_2483543 was detected by all models. Linkage disequilibrium (LD) regions of some SNPs overlapped with the intervals of QTL for RSA and N response that were detected in previous studies. In particular, several known genes, Rtcs, Rtcl, Rtcl, and Ms44, were located in the LD regions of S1_9992325, S9_151726472, S9_154381179, and S4_197073985, respectively. Among the candidate genes identified by this study, GRMZM2G139811, GRMZM2G314898, GRMZM2G054050, GRMZM2G173682, GRMZM2G470914, GRMZM2G462325, GRMZM2G416184, and GRMZM2G064302 were involved in seedling, seed, and root system development or N metabolism in Arabidopsis or rice. The markers identified in this study can be used for marker-assisted selection of RSA traits to improve nitrogen use efficiency in maize breeding, and the candidate genes will contribute to further understanding of the genetic basis of RSA under diverse N conditions.


This is a manuscript of an article published as Ma, Langlang, Chunyan Qing, Ursula Frei, Yaou Shen, and Thomas Lübberstedt. "Association mapping for root system architecture traits under two nitrogen conditions in germplasm enhancement of maize doubled haploid lines." The Crop Journal (2019). doi: 10.1016/j.cj.2019.11.004.

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Crop Science Society of China and Institute of Crop Science, CAAS



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