J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 2012, Vol. 54 ›› Issue (6): 358-373.DOI: 10.1111/j.1744-7909.2012.01128.x

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The Genetic Architecture of Flowering Time and Photoperiod Sensitivity in Maize as Revealed by QTL Review and Meta Analysis

Jie Xu1,2, Yaxi Liu3, Jian Liu1,2, Moju Cao1,2, Jing Wang1,2, Hai Lan1,2, Yunbi Xu4,5, Yanli Lu1,2,5*, Guangtang Pan1,2 and Tingzhao Rong1,2   

  1. 1Maize Research Institute, Sichuan Agricultural University, Wenjiang 611130, Sichuan, China
    2Key Laboratory of Biology and Genetic Improvement of Maize in Southwest Region Ministry of Agriculture, China
    3Triticeae Research Institute, Sichuan Agricultural University, Wenjiang 611130, Sichuan, China
    4Institute of Crop Science, National Key Facilities for Crop Genetic Resources and Improvement, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing 100081, China
    5International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), El Batán 56130, Texcoco, Mexico
  • Received:2012-01-24 Accepted:2012-04-10 Published:2012-05-14
  • About author:*Corresponding author Tel: +86 28 8265 2012; Fax: +86 28 8629 0916; E-mail: yanli.lu82@hotmail.com


The control of flowering is not only important for reproduction, but also plays a key role in the processes of domestication and adaptation. To reveal the genetic architecture for flowering time and photoperiod sensitivity, a comprehensive evaluation of the relevant literature was performed and followed by meta analysis. A total of 25 synthetic consensus quantitative trait loci (QTL) and four hot-spot genomic regions were identified for photoperiod sensitivity including 11 genes related to photoperiod response or flower morphogenesis and development. Besides, a comparative analysis of the QTL for flowering time and photoperiod sensitivity highlighted the regions containing shared and unique QTL for the two traits. Candidate genes associated with maize flowering were identified through integrated analysis of the homologous genes for flowering time in plants and the consensus QTL regions for photoperiod sensitivity in maize (Zea mays L.). Our results suggest that the combination of literature review, meta-analysis and homologous blast is an efficient approach to identify new candidate genes and create a global view of the genetic architecture for maize photoperiodic flowering. Sequences of candidate genes can be used to develop molecular markers for various models of marker-assisted selection, such as marker-assisted recurrent selection and genomic selection that can contribute significantly to crop environmental adaptation.

Xu J, Liu Y, Liu J, Cao M, Wang J, Lan H, Xu Y, Lu Y, Pan G, Rong T (2012) The genetic architecture of flowering time and photoperiod sensitivity in maize as revealed by QTL review and meta analysis. J. Integr. Plant Biol. 54(6), 358–373.

Key words: Maize, flowering time, photoperiod sensitivity, meta-analysis, consensus quantitative trait loci (cQTL), molecular breeding

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