Identification of QTL and candidate genes associated with biomass yield and Feed Quality in response to water deficit in alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) using linkage mapping and RNA-Seq

Front Plant Sci. 2022 Oct 17;13:996672. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2022.996672. eCollection 2022.


Biomass yield and Feed Quality are the most important traits in alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.), which directly affect its economic value. Drought stress is one of the main limiting factors affecting alfalfa production worldwide. However, the genetic and especially the molecular mechanisms for drought tolerance in alfalfa are poorly understood. In this study, linkage mapping was performed in an F1 population by combining 12 phenotypic data (biomass yield, plant height, and 10 Feed Quality-related traits). A total of 48 significant QTLs were identified on the high-density genetic linkage maps that were constructed in our previous study. Among them, nine main QTLs, which explained more than 10% phenotypic variance, were detected for biomass yield (one), plant height (one), CP (two), ASH (one), P (two), K(one), and Mg (one). A total of 31 candidate genes were identified in the nine main QTL intervals based on the RNA-seq analysis under the drought condition. Blast-P was further performed to screen candidate genes controlling drought tolerance, and 22 functional protein candidates were finally identified. The results of the present study will be useful for improving drought tolerance of alfalfa varieties by marker-assisted selection (MAS), and provide promising candidates for further gene cloning and mechanism study.

PMID:36325545 | PMC:PMC9619099 | DOI:10.3389/fpls.2022.996672


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