Theoretical and Applied Genetics

, Volume 133, Issue 1, pp 353–364 | Cite as

Genetic mapping of green curd gene Gr in cauliflower

  • Huaqiang Tan
  • Xin Wang
  • Zhangjun Fei
  • Huanxiu Li
  • Yaakov Tadmor
  • Michael Mazourek
  • Li LiEmail author
Original Article

Key message

Gr5.1 is the major locus for cauliflower green curd color and mapped to an interval of 236 Kbp with four most likely candidate genes.


Cauliflower with colored curd enhances not only the visual appeal but also the nutritional value of the crop. Green cauliflower results from ectopic development of chloroplasts in the normal white curd. However, the underlying genetic basis is unknown. In this study, we employed QTL-seq analysis to identify the loci that were associated with green curd phenotype in cauliflower. A F2 population was generated following a cross between a white curd (Stovepipe) and a green curd (ACX800) cauliflower plants. By whole-genome resequencing and SNP analysis of green and white F2 bulks, two QTLs were detected on chromosomes 5 (Gr5.1) and 7 (Gr7.1). Validation by traditional genetic mapping with CAPS markers suggested that Gr5.1 represented a major QTL, whereas Gr7.1 had a minor effect. Subsequent high-resolution mapping of Gr5.1 in the second large F2 population with additional CAPS markers narrowed down the target region to a genetic and physical distance of 0.3 cM and 236 Kbp, respectively. This region contained 35 genes with four of them representing the best candidates for the green curd phenotype in cauliflower. They are LOC106295953, LOC106343833, LOC106345143, and LOC106295954, which encode UMP kinase, DEAD-box RNA helicase 51-like, glutathione S-transferase T3-like, and protein MKS1, respectively. These findings lay a solid foundation for the isolation of the Gr gene and provide a potential for marker-assisted selection of the green curd trait in cauliflower breeding. The eventual isolation of Gr will also facilitate better understanding of chloroplast biogenesis and development in plants.



We thank Mr. Evan Rees for field phenotyping, preparation of bulked DNA samples for QTL-seq analysis, and critical comments on this manuscript. HT acknowledges the graduate training scholarship from the China Scholarship Council (CSC). This work was supported by the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative competitive award Grant No. 2016-67013-24612 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, the USDA-ARS base fund, and the United States–Israel Binational Agricultural Research and Development Fund (Grant No. US-4918-16CR).

Author contribution statement

HT performed most of the experiments. XW performed bioinformatic data analysis. ZF, HL, YT, and MM aided research design, assisted data analysis and interpretation, and/or edited the manuscript. HT and LL wrote the manuscript with contribution from all coauthors.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical standard

This research complies with the current laws of the USA.

Supplementary material

122_2019_3466_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (13 kb)
Online Resource 1. Primers of CAPS markers for mapping (XLSX 13 kb)
122_2019_3466_MOESM2_ESM.xlsx (11 kb)
Online Resource 2. Primers used for RT-qPCR analysis of candidate genes (XLSX 10 kb)
122_2019_3466_MOESM3_ESM.xlsx (14 kb)
Online Resource 3. Genotype and phenotype of the 100 F2 individuals used to construct bulks for low-resolution mapping of Gr5.1 (XLSX 13 kb)
122_2019_3466_MOESM4_ESM.xlsx (14 kb)
Online Resource 4. Genotype and phenotype of the 100 F2 individuals used to construct bulks for Gr7.1 (XLSX 14 kb)
122_2019_3466_MOESM5_ESM.xlsx (98 kb)
Online Resource 5. Genotype and phenotype of 1291 individuals in the second large F2 population for high-resolution mapping of Gr5.1 (XLSX 98 kb)
122_2019_3466_MOESM6_ESM.xlsx (15 kb)
Online Resource 6. Information of 35 candidate genes. FPKM and fold change data were retrieved from Zhou et al. (2011) (XLSX 14 kb)
122_2019_3466_MOESM7_ESM.docx (378 kb)
Online Resource 7. UMP kinase protein sequence alignment and phylogenetic tree (DOCX 377 kb)


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Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Robert W. Holley Center for Agriculture and Health, USDA-ARSCornell UniversityIthacaUSA
  2. 2.College of HorticultureSichuan Agricultural UniversityWenjiangChina
  3. 3.Plant Breeding and Genetics Section, School of Integrative Plant ScienceCornell UniversityIthacaUSA
  4. 4.Boyce Thompson InstituteCornell UniversityIthacaUSA
  5. 5.Plant Science Institute, Israeli Agricultural Research OrganizationNewe Yaar Research CenterRamat YishayIsrael

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