Fine mapping and candidate gene analysis of qhkw5-3, a major QTL for kernel weight in maize

  • Wenliang Li
  • Qinghe Bai
  • Weimin Zhan
  • Chenyu Ma
  • Shunyou Wang
  • Yuanyuan Feng
  • Mengdi Zhang
  • Ying Zhu
  • Ming Cheng
  • Zhangying XiEmail author
Original Article


Key message

qhkw5-3, a major QTL for kernel weight in maize, was mapped to an interval of 125.3 kb between the InDel markers InYM20 and InYM36, and the candidate genes were analysed.


Yield, of which kernel weight is a major component, is the primary trait of interest in maize breeding programmes. In our previous study, a major QTL (named qhkw5-3), which controls hundred-kernel weight, was identified and mapped to the interval between simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers SYM033 and SYM108 on chromosome 5, using an F2:3 population derived from a cross between the maize inbred line Zheng58 and the single-segment substitution line Z22. In order to fine map qhkw5-3, a larger BC1F1 segregating population of 14,759 seeds, derived from a (Z22 × Zheng58) × Z22 cross, was screened using the SSR markers SYM036 and SYM119. Forty genotypes with donor chromosomal fragments of different lengths were obtained. Progeny testing results indicated that qhkw5-3 was mapped to an interval of 442.6 kb between the SSR markers SYM077 and SYM084. Overlap mapping results, based on seven homozygous recombinant lines, showed that qhkw5-3 was narrowed down to an interval of 125.3 kb between the InDel markers InYM20 and InYM36. Within this interval, six candidate genes were analysed using qRT-PCR. The results of this study lay the foundations for cloning and functional analysis of qhkw5-3 and will contribute to advancing our knowledge of the genetic basis of yield traits in maize.



This research was supported by the National Science Foundation of China (31371629). We would like to thank Editage ( for English language editing.

Author contribution statement

WLL analysed the data and wrote the draft manuscript. QHB completed the work of progeny test mapping in the BC1F2 generation. qRT-PCR assays were carried out by WMZ and CYM. The genotypes of BC1F1 individuals were identified by SYW and YYF. MDZ, YZ, and MC determined hundred-kernel weight phenotypes. ZYX designed and supervised the study and revised the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that there are no conflicts of interest.

Supplementary material

122_2019_3372_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (87 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 87 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wenliang Li
    • 1
  • Qinghe Bai
    • 1
  • Weimin Zhan
    • 1
  • Chenyu Ma
    • 1
  • Shunyou Wang
    • 1
  • Yuanyuan Feng
    • 1
  • Mengdi Zhang
    • 1
  • Ying Zhu
    • 1
  • Ming Cheng
    • 1
  • Zhangying Xi
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.College of AgronomyHenan Agricultural UniversityZhengzhouChina

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