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Natural variation and genetic analysis of the tiller angle gene MsTAC1 in Miscanthus sinensis

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Biomass yield is an important target trait in Miscanthus breeding for desirable energy crops. Tiller angle is a key trait of plant architecture because it determines planting density and further influences biomass yield through affecting photosynthesis efficiency. TAC1, a major gene involved in tiller and leaf angle control in rice and maize, respectively, has been extensively studied. Nucleotide variation at this gene, MsTAC1, was investigated in 33 Miscanthus sinensis accessions collected from different areas in China, and one genotype of Miscanthus × giganteus. A total of 136 loci, including 129 single base substitutions and seven InDels, occurred within the MsTAC1 gene of 1,874 bp. The genetic diversity at MsTAC1 is characterized by high nucleotide diversity (π value) and high heterozygosity. Clustering analysis indicated that the phylogenetic tree of the 33 M. sinensis accessions was correlated with their geographical sites of origin. The neutrality test revealed no strong selection pressure on coding and non-coding region variations of the MsTAC1 gene in the accessions. Phenotype evaluations were conducted for tiller angle and five other traits in the Miscanthus panels in the first two growth years of 2009 and 2010. Analysis of variance showed significant phenotypic variations in the examined traits. Association analysis using 246 markers detected 88 loci associated with all the test traits in either 1 or 2 years, and 11 of the 88 were year reproducible and thus reliable. These associations indicate that the variation of MsTAC1 affects the phenotypic value of the tiller angle, tiller number and biomass yield, suggesting that allelic variation in MsTAC1 affects multiple traits and demonstrates its significance in Miscanthus breeding programs.

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Tiller angle gene


Insert and deletion


Coding sequence


Untranslated region


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This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 31100243 and 30870233). The authors kindly thank Prof. Hanhui Kuang at Huazhong Agricultural University for his advice to the work.

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Correspondence to Junhua Peng.

Electronic supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (TIFF 21 kb)

Suppl. Fig. S1 Population structure of 34 Miscanthus accessions based on 131 MsTAC1–derived SNP or InDel markers, and 115 SSRs. When K (the number of subgroups) was four, the 34 Miscanthus accessions were classified into four groups

Supplementary material 2 (DOCX 48 kb)

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Zhao, H., Huai, Z., Xiao, Y. et al. Natural variation and genetic analysis of the tiller angle gene MsTAC1 in Miscanthus sinensis . Planta 240, 161–175 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00425-014-2070-x

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  • Association analysis
  • Evolution selection
  • Natural variation
  • Nucleotide diversity
  • Miscanthus
  • Tiller angle control