J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 2006, Vol. 48 ›› Issue (10): 1233-1243.DOI: 10.1111/j.1744-7909.2006.00289.x

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Quantitative Trait Loci Mapping of Maize Yield and Its Components Under Different Water Treatments at Flowering Time

Gui-He Lu, Ji-Hua Tang, Jian-Bing Yan, Xi-Qing Ma, Jian-Sheng Li, Shao-Jiang Chen, Jian-Cang Ma, Zhan-Xian Liu, Li-Zhu E, Yi-Rong Zhang and Jing-Rui Dai   

Abstract: Drought or water stress is a serious agronomic problem resulting in maize (Zea mays L.) yield loss throughout the world. Breeding hybrids with drought tolerance is one important approach for solving this problem. However, lower efficiency and a longer period of breeding hybrids are disadvantages of traditional breeding programs. It is generally recognized that applying molecular marker techniques to traditional breeding programs could improve the efficiency of the breeding of drought-tolerant maize. To provide useful information for use in studies of maize drought tolerance, the mapping and tagging of quantitative trait loci (QTL) for yield and its components were performed in the present study on the basis of the principle of a mixed linear model. Two hundred and twenty-one recombinant inbred lines (RIL) of Yuyu 22 were grown under both well-watered and water-stressed conditions. In the former treatment group, plants were well irrigated, whereas those in the latter treatment group were stressed at flowering time. Ten plants of each genotype were grown in a row that was 3.00 m × 0.67 m (length × width). The results show that a few of the QTL were the same (one additive QTL for ear length, two additive QTL and one pair of epistatic QTL for kernel number per row, one additive QTL for kernel weight per plant), whereas most of other QTL were different between the two different water treatment groups. It may be that genetic expression differs under the two different water conditions. Furthermore, differences in the additive and epistatic QTL among the traits under water-stressed conditions indicate that genetic expression also differs from trait to trait. Major and minor QTL were detected for the traits, except for kernel number per row, under water-stressed conditions. Thus, the genetic mechanism of drought tolerance in maize is complex because the additive and epistatic QTL exist at the same time and the major and minor QTL all contribute to phenotype under water-stressed conditions. In particular, epidemic QTL under water-stressed conditions suggest that it is important to investigate the drought tolerance of maize from a genetic viewpoint.(Author for correspondence. Tel: +86 (0)10 62732571; E-mail: daijr@cau.edu.cn)

Key words: flowering time, maize (Zea mays), quantitative trait loci mapping, water treatment, yield and its components.

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