Molecular Breeding

, 39:7 | Cite as

High-density quantitative trait locus mapping revealed genetic architecture of leaf angle and tassel size in maize

  • Xuyang Liu
  • Luyang Hao
  • Sirong Kou
  • Erhu Su
  • Yuqian Zhou
  • Ruilian Wang
  • Abdelghany Mohamed
  • Chenxi Gao
  • Dengfeng Zhang
  • Yongxiang Li
  • Chunhui Li
  • Yanchun Song
  • Yunsu Shi
  • Tianyu WangEmail author
  • Yu LiEmail author


The maize leaf angle and tassel size have close relationships with grain yield. These traits had undergone a strong selection and great morphological changes during domestication and improvement. To understand the genetic architecture of these morphological traits, an F2:3 population was developed using the cross of Lv28 by H082183, the latter having more erect leaves and small tassels. Using a modified hidden Markov model (HMM), the genetic map covering 1495.79 cM was obtained from 1965 bin markers. QTL mapping identified six leaf angle QTL, seven tassel branch number QTL, and ten tassel dry weight QTL, including three large-effect QTL (R2 > 10%) qLA1_2, qLA2, and qTBN8. The inflorescence development gene tasselseed2 (ts2) and zea floricaula leafy2 (zfl2) were co-located in the interval of qTW1 and qTW2_1. Seven genes in qLA1_2 showed evidence of selection during maize improvement, including two protein kinase genes (GRMZM2G138475 and GRMZM2G114093) and two trehalose-phosphatase genes (GRMZM2G347280 and GRMZM2G008226). Interestingly, the significant SNPs associated with tassel branch number and the selection region in qTBN8 were consistent at 5′ non-coding region of GRMZM5G873917. And the nucleotide diversity analysis revealed that the 5′ regulatory region of GRMZM5G873917 was under strong selection. These results provide insights into genetic architectures of maize morphological traits and alleles which have potentials in maize breeding.


Maize (Zea mays L.) QTL (quantitative trait locus) Leaf angle Tassel weight Tassel branch number F2:3 population 



We are grateful to Jianbing Yan from the Huazhong Agricultural University for kindly providing the genotypic data and phenotypic data.


This research was supported by The National Key Research and Development Program of China (2016YFD0100303) and the CAAS Innovation Program.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xuyang Liu
    • 1
  • Luyang Hao
    • 1
  • Sirong Kou
    • 2
  • Erhu Su
    • 3
  • Yuqian Zhou
    • 2
  • Ruilian Wang
    • 4
  • Abdelghany Mohamed
    • 1
  • Chenxi Gao
    • 1
  • Dengfeng Zhang
    • 1
  • Yongxiang Li
    • 1
  • Chunhui Li
    • 1
  • Yanchun Song
    • 1
  • Yunsu Shi
    • 1
  • Tianyu Wang
    • 1
    Email author
  • Yu Li
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Institute of Crop ScienceChinese Academy of Agricultural SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.Crop InstituteGansu Academy of Agricultural SciencesLanzhouChina
  3. 3.Maize InstituteInner Mongolia Academy of Agricultural and Animal Husbandry SciencesHohhotChina
  4. 4.Bayannur Academy of Agricultural Sciences of Inner MongoliaBayannurChina

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