Molecular Breeding

, Volume 28, Issue 2, pp 143–152 | Cite as

Mapping of quantitative trait loci for kernel row number in maize across seven environments

  • Ming Lu
  • Chuan-Xiao Xie
  • Xin-Hai Li
  • Zhuan-Fang Hao
  • Ming-Shun Li
  • Jian-Feng Weng
  • De-Gui Zhang
  • Li Bai
  • Shi-Huang Zhang


Genetic factors controlling quantitative inheritance of grain yield and its components have been intensively investigated during recent decades using diverse populations in maize (Zea mays L.). Notwithstanding this, quantitative trait loci (QTL) for kernel row number (KRN) with large and consistent effect have not been identified. In this study, a linkage map of 150 simple sequence repeat (SSR) loci was constructed by using a population of 500 F2 individuals derived from a cross between elite inbreds Ye478 and Dan340. The linkage map spanned a total of 1478 cM with an average interval of 10.0 cM. A total of 397 F2:3 lines were evaluated across seven diverse environments for mapping QTL for KRN. Some QTL for grain yield and its components had previously been confirmed with this population across environments. A total of 13 QTL for KRN were identified, with each QTL explaining from 3.0 to 17.9% of phenotypic variance. The gene action for KRN was mainly additive to partial dominance. A large-effect QTL (qkrn7) with partial dominance effect accounting for 17.9% of the phenotypic variation for KRN was identified on chromosome 7 near marker umc1865 with consistent gene effect across seven diverse environments. This study has laid a foundation for map-based cloning of this major QTL and for developing molecular markers for marker-assisted selection of high KRN.


Kernel row numbers Quantitative trait loci Mapping Maize Major QTL 





Cob diameter


Confidence interval


Composite interval mapping method




Coefficient of variation




Dominance effects/additive effects


Ear diameter


Ear length


Grain yield


Interval mapping


Kernel number per ear


Kernel number per row


Kernel row number


100-kernel weight


Logarithm of odds




Polymerase chain reaction


Partial dominance


Quantitative trait locus


Simple sequence repeat



This research was supported by “973” program (2009CB118400-04) from the China Ministry of Science and Technology and a Program (30871535) from the National Science Foundation of China. We are thankful to Dr. Yunbi Xu from the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) for suggestions and revisions to this manuscript.

Supplementary material

11032_2010_9468_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (29 kb)
Supplementary Fig. 1 The ears of inbred Ye478, Dan340 and their F1. (PDF 28 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ming Lu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Chuan-Xiao Xie
    • 1
  • Xin-Hai Li
    • 1
  • Zhuan-Fang Hao
    • 1
  • Ming-Shun Li
    • 1
  • Jian-Feng Weng
    • 1
  • De-Gui Zhang
    • 1
  • Li Bai
    • 1
  • Shi-Huang Zhang
    • 1
  1. 1.National Key Facility of Crop Gene Resources and Genetic Improvement, Institute of Crop ScienceChinese Academy of Agricultural SciencesHaidian, BeijingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Institute of Maize ResearchJilin Academy of Agricultural SciencesGong-zhu-lingPeople’s Republic of China

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