Molecular Breeding

, 39:3 | Cite as

Linkage disequilibrium between fitness QTLs and the sugary1 allele of maize

  • Mohamed Allam
  • Bernardo Ordás
  • Abderahmane Djemel
  • William F. Tracy
  • Pedro RevillaEmail author


Understanding how biological systems evolve across changing conditions has been a crucial focus of research. Mutations change the genetic context in which genes are expressed and yet the mechanisms underlying mutation fitness are still unclear. We use the sweet corn mutant sugary1 (su1) as a model for understanding the genetic regulation of mutant fitness, focusing on the mutant × genotype interaction across diverse environments. In a previous work, we identified quantitative trait loci (QTLs) affecting fitness in a mapping population of recombinant inbred lines (RILs) derived from a cross between field corn (B73) × sweet corn (P39 or IL14h) parents; however, the epistatic effects of these QTLs on su1 fitness were not investigated. In the present study, we estimated fitness for two seed production environments. Viability of su1 is under genetic and environmental controls, regulated by multiple genes with minor contributions, and these genes depend on the genotype into which the mutation is introduced and on the environment. Some QTLs were in linkage disequilibrium with the maize gene Su1 and had epistatic effects on su1 fitness. These QTLs could be used by sweet corn breeders by combining the most favorable alleles associated with su1 viability in breeding new genotypes from field × sweet corn crosses. These results also have implications for mutagenesis breeding or genome editing because the epistatic effects of the target genome on the new alleles generated by these techniques could affect the success of the breeding program.


Zea mays L. Sweet corn Epistasis sugary1 



Molecular data was provided by the Maize Diversity Project ( Seed was provided by the North Central Regional Plant Introduction Station of the USA.


This work was supported by the Spanish Plan for Research and Development (grant number AGL2016-77628-R); FEDER (grant number AGL2016-77628-R); and the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (University of Wisconsin-Madison).

Supplementary material

11032_2018_911_Fig1_ESM.png (261 kb)
Supplementary Figure 1.

The segregation distortion of the four SNPs in linkage disequilibrium with the Sugary1 locus for the RILs released from B73 × P39. All SNPs were skewed towards the A allele (from B73) in the non-sweet corn RILs and towards the C allele (from P39) in the sweet corn RILs. (PNG 261 kb)

11032_2018_911_MOESM1_ESM.tif (37 kb)
High resolution image (TIF 36 kb)
11032_2018_911_Fig2_ESM.png (502 kb)
Supplementary Figure 2.

The segregation distortion of the four SNPs in linkage disequilibrium with the Sugary1 locus for the RILs released from B73 × IL14h, all SNPs were skewed towards the A allele (from B73) in the non-sweet corn RILs and towards the C allele (from IL14h) in the sweet corn RILs. (PNG 502 kb)

11032_2018_911_MOESM2_ESM.tif (51 kb)
High resolution image (TIF 50 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mohamed Allam
    • 1
  • Bernardo Ordás
    • 1
  • Abderahmane Djemel
    • 2
  • William F. Tracy
    • 3
  • Pedro Revilla
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Misión Biológica de Galicia (CSIC)PontevedraSpain
  2. 2.École Nationale Supérieure AgronomiqueEl Harrach-AlgerAlgeria
  3. 3.Department of Agronomy, College of Agricultural and Life SciencesUniversity of Wisconsin-MadisonMadisonUSA

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