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    Low grain water content (GWC) at harvest of maize (Zea mays L.) is essential for mechanical harvesting, transportation and storage. Grain drying rate (GDR) is a key determinant of GWC. Many quantitative trait locus (QTLs) related to GDR and GWC have been reported, however, the confidence interval (CI) of these QTLs are too large and few QTLs has been fine-mapped or even been cloned. Meta-QTL (MQTL) analysis is an effective method to integrate QTLs information in independent populations, which helps to understand the genetic structure of quantitative traits. In this study, MQTL analysis was performed using 282 QTLs from 25 experiments related GDR and GWC. Totally, 11 and 34 MQTLs were found to be associated with GDR and GWC, respectively. The average CI of GDR and GWC MQTLs was 24.44 and 22.13 cM which reduced the 57 and 65% compared to the average QTL interval for initial GDR and GWC QTL, respectively. Finally, 1494 and 5011 candidate genes related to GDR and GWC were identified in MQTL intervals, respectively. Among these genes, there are 48 genes related to hormone metabolism. Our studies combined traditional QTL analyses, genome-wide association study and RNA-seq to analysis major locus for regulating GWC in maize. © 2022. The Author(s).


    Wei Wang, Zhaobin Ren, Lu Li, Yiping Du, Yuyi Zhou, Mingcai Zhang, Zhaohu Li, Fei Yi, Liusheng Duan. Meta-QTL analysis explores the key genes, especially hormone related genes, involved in the regulation of grain water content and grain dehydration rate in maize. BMC plant biology. 2022 Jul 16;22(1):346

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    PMID: 35842577

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