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QTL identification in backcross population for brace-root-related traits in maize


The brace-root is a crucial part of the whole root system in maize and plays an important role in the maintenance of lodging resistance. In this study, a BC2F1 population with three replicates, derived from the cross between Yi17 (well-developed brace-root) and Yi16 (poorly developed brace-root) was used for quantitative trait locus (QTL) detection. The total lengths of the genetic linkage map for the three replicates were 659.6, 662.9 and 936.8 cM, respectively, and the average distances between adjacent markers were 3.43, 3.68 and 4.61 cM, respectively. In total, 21 QTLs were detected in the BC2F1 population. The detected QTLs were mainly located at bin 3.05 (four QTLs) and 8.04–8.05 (three QTLs). Bin 3.05 was first detected to be rich in QTLs for brace-root traits in all three replicates, and QTLs detected in bin 8.04–8.05 were consistent with our previous results in the F2:3 population. The QTLs qW3a and qVA3 were coincident QTLs; of these, qW3a was a major effect QTL. These results may provide important information for maize breeders to pyramid favorable chromosome fragments or QTL in breeding programmes targeted at well-developed brace-root materials.

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Fig. 1
Fig. 2



Additive effect


Brace-root average diameter


Brace-root dry weight


Brace-root surface area


Brace-root total length


Brace-root tier number


Brace-root volume



IF2 :

Immortalized F2


Logarithm of odds


Recombinant inbred line


Quantitative trait locus

R 2 :

Phenotypic variance explained


Simple sequence repeat


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The authors would like to thank the key Research Projects of Chongqing (cstc2016shms-ztzx80016, cstc2016shms-ztzx80017), Research Fund for the Doctoral Program of Southwest University (SWU114035), and Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (XDJK2018C052) for providing financial support.

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Correspondence to Yilin Cai.

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Fig. S1 The schematic diagram for backcross population development (EMF 57 kb)

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Sun, N., Liu, C., Mei, X. et al. QTL identification in backcross population for brace-root-related traits in maize. Euphytica 216, 32 (2020).

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  • Maize
  • Brace-root
  • Correlation
  • Linkage map
  • Quantitative trait loci