The Molecular Genetic Basis of Flowering Time Variation in Brassica Species

  • T. C. Osborn
  • L. Lukens
Part of the Biotechnology in Agriculture and Forestry book series (AGRICULTURE, volume 52)


One of the most striking features of the Brassica genus is the wide range of morphological diversity within cultivated species. Different morphs have been selected for a variety of uses, including as vegetables, oilseeds, forages, and condiments. This variation is most apparent within B. rapa (syn. campestris; n = 10) and B. oleracea (n = 9), where broad, parallel diversity exists for many vegetable forms (Fig. 1). Brassica napus (n = 19), the amphidiploid species derived from hybridization of B. rapa and B. oleracea (U 1935) also includes diverse crop forms, such as winter and spring oilseed rape, rutabagas, and fodder rape. Many different components of plant growth and development contribute to this morphological variation, and each of these components may be under complex genetic control. Thus, it has been difficult to obtain a comprehensive picture of the genetic control of morphological diversity in Brassica crops. However, a major component of this diversity is variation in flowering time, and for this trait considerable progress in our understanding has been made.


Flowering Time Brassica Species Quantitative Trait Locus Effect Rapid Cycling Quantitative Trait Locus Allele 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Araki T (2001) Transition from vegetative to reproductive phase. Curr Opin Plant Biol 4:63–68PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Axelsson T, Shavorskaya O, Lagercrantz U (2001) Multiple flowering time QTLs within several Brassica species could be the result of duplicated copies of one ancestral gene. Genome 44:856–864Google Scholar
  3. Bohuon EJR, Ramsay LD, Craft JA, Arthur AE, Marshall DF, Lydiate DJ, Kearsey MJ (1998) The association of flowering time quantitative trait loci with duplicated regions and candidate loci in Brassica oleracea. Genetics 150:393–401PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Butruille DV, Guries RP, Osborn TC (1999a) Increasing yield of spring oilseed rape hybrids (Brassica napus L.) through introgression of winter germplasm. Crop Sci 39:1491–1496CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Butruille DV, Guries RP, Osborn TC (1999b) Linkage analysis of molecular markers and quantitative trait loci in populations of inbred backcross lines of Brassica napus L. Genetics 153:949–964Google Scholar
  6. Camargo LEA, Osborn TC (1996) Mapping loci controlling flowering time in Brassica oleracea. Theor Appl Genet 92:610–616CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Camargo LEA, Savides L, Jung G, Nienhuis J, Osborn TC (1997) Location of theself-incompatibility locus in an RFLP and RAPD map of Brassicaoleracea. J Hered 88:57–60PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cavell AC, Lydiate DJ, Parkin IAP, Dean C, Trick M (1998) Collinearity between a 30-centimorgan segment of Arabidopsis thaliana chromosome 4 and duplicated regions within the Brassica napus genome. Genome 41:62–69PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Chi Y-S, Hownecke ME, Sernyk JL (1992) A genetic linkage map of restriction fragment length polymorphism loci for Brassica rapa (syn. campestris). Genome 35:746–757CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Detjen LR (1926) A preliminary report on cabbage breeding. Proc Am Soc Hortic Sci 23:325–332Google Scholar
  11. Dickson MH (1968) Eight newly described genes in broccoli. Proc Am Soc Hortic Sci 93:356Google Scholar
  12. Diers BW, Osborn TC (1994) Genetic diversity of oilseed Brassica napus germplasm based on restriction fragment length polymorphisms. Theor Appl Genet 88:662–668CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Doebley J, Stec A, Gustus C (1995) Teosinte branched I and the origin of maize: evidence for epistasis and the evolution of dominance. Genetics 141:333–346PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Edwards MD, Helentjaris T, Wright S, Stuber CW (1992) Molecular-marker-facilitated investigations of quantitative trait loci in maize 4. Theor Appl Genet 83:765–774CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Ferreira ME, Satagopan J, Yandell BS, Williams PH, Osborn TC (1995) Mapping loci controlling vernalization requirement and flowering time in Brassica napus. Theor Appl Genet 90:727–732CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hu J, Sadawski J, Osborn TC, Landry B, Quiros C (1998) Linkage group alignment from four independent Brassica oleracea RFLP maps. Genome 41:226–235Google Scholar
  17. Johanson U, West J, Lister C, Michaels S, Amasino R, Dean C (2000) Molecular Analysis of FRIGIDA a major determinant of natural variation in Arabidopsis flowering time. Science 290:344–348PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Kardailsky I, Shukla VK, Ahn JH, Dagenais N, Christensen SK, Nguyen JT, Chory J, Harrison MJ, Weigel D (1999) Activation tagging of the floral inducer FT. Science 286:1962–1965PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Kennard WC, Slocum KM, Figdore SS, Osborn TC (1994) Genetic analysis of morphological variation in Brassica oleracea using molecular markers. Theor Appl Genet 87:721–732CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Kobayashi Y, Kaya H, Goto K, Iwabuchi M, Araki T (1999) A pair of related genes with antagonistic roles in mediating flowering signals. Science 286:1960–1962PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Koch MA, Haubold B, Mitchell-Olds T (2000) Comparative evolutionary analysis of chalcone synthase and alcohol dehydrogenase loci in Arabidopsis, Arabis and related genera (Brassicaceae). Mol Biol Evol 17:1483–1498Google Scholar
  22. Kole C, Kole P, Vogelzang R, Osborn TC (1997) Genetic linkage map of a Brassicarapa recombinant inbred population. J Hered 88:553–557CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Kole C, Quijada P, Michaels SD, Amasino RM, Osborn TC (2001) Evidence for homology of flowering-time genes VFR2 from Brassica rapa and FLC from Arabidopsis thaliana. Theor Appl Genet 102:425–430CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Kole C, Williams PH, Rimmer SR, Osborn TC (2002) Linkage mapping of genes controlling resistance to white rust (Albugo candida) in Brassica rapa (syn. campestris) and comparative mapping to B. napus and Arabidopsis thaliana. Genome 45:22–27PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Koornneef M, Hanhart CJ, Van der Veen JH (1991) A genetic and physiological analysis of late flowering mutants in Arabidopsis thaliana. Mol Gen Genet 229:57–66PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Koornneef M, Alonso-Bianco C, Peeters AJM, Soppe W (1998) Genetic control of flowering time in Arabidopsis. Annu Rev Plant Physiol Plant Mol Biol 49:345–370PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Kowalski SP, Lan TH, Feldmann KA, Paterson AH (1994) Comparative mapping of Arabidopsis thaliana and Brassica oleracea chromosomes reveals islands of conserved organization. Genetics 138:499–510PubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Lagercrantz U (1998) Comparative mapping between Arabidopsis thaliana and Brassica nigra indicates that Brassica genomes have evolved through extensive genome replication accompanied by chromosome fusions and frequent rearrangements. Genetics 150:1217–1228PubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Lagercrantz U, Lydiate DJ (1996) Comparative genome mapping in Brassica. Genetics 144:1903–1910PubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. Lagercrantz U, Putterill J, Coupland G, Lydiate D (1996) Comparative mapping in Arabidopsis and Brassica, fine scale genome collinearity and congruence of genes controlling flowering time. Plant J 9:13–20PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Lan TH, Paterson AH (2000) Comparative mapping of quantitative trait loci sculpting the curd of Brassica oleracea. Genetics 155:1927–1954PubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. Lan TH, DelMonte TA, Reischmann KP, Hyman J, Kowalski SP, McFerson J, Kresovich S, Paterson AH (2000) An EST-enriched comparative map of Brassica oleracea and Arabidopsis thaliana. Genome Res 10:776–768PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Lee I, Michaels SD, Masshardt AS, Amasino RM (1994) The late-flowering phenotype of FRIGIDA and LUMINIDEPENDENS is suppressed in the Landsberg erecta strain of Arabidopsis. Plant J 6:903–909CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. McGrath JM, Quiros CF, Harada JJ, Landry BS (1990) Identification of Brassica oleracea mono-somic alien chromosome addition lines with molecular markers reveals extensive gene duplication. Mol Gen Genet 223:198–204PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Michaels SD, Amasino RM (1999) Flowering Locus C encodes a novel MADS domain protein that acts as a repressor of flowering. Plant Cell 11:949–956Google Scholar
  36. Michaels SD, Amasino RM (2000) Memories of winter: vernalization and the competence to flower. Plant Cell Environ 23:1145–1153CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Osborn TC, Kole C, Parkin IAP, Sharpe AG, Kuiper M, Lydiate DJ, Trick M (1997) Comparison of flowering time genes in Brassica rapa, B. napus and Arabidopsis thaliana. Genetics 146:1123–1129PubMedGoogle Scholar
  38. Parkin IAP, Sharpe AG, Keith DJ, Lydiate DJ (1995) Identification of the A and C genomes of amphidiploid Brassica napus (oilseed rape). Genome 38:1122–1131PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Parkin IAP, Lydiate DJ, Trick, M (2002) Assessing the level of collinearity between Arabidopsis thaliana and Brassica napus for A. thaliana chromosome 5. Genome 45:1–11CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Prakash S, Hinata K (1980) Taxonomy, cytogenetics and origin of crop Brassica’s, a review. Opera Bot 55:1–57Google Scholar
  41. Putterill J, Robson F, Lee K, Simon R, Coupland G (1995) The CONSTANS gene of Arabidopsis promotes flowering and encodes a protein showing similarities to zinc finger transcription factors. Cell 80:847–857PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Ramsay LD, Jennings DE, Bohuon EJR, Arthur AE, Lydiate DJ (1996) The construction of substitution library of recombinant backcross lines in Brassica oleracea for the precision mapping of quantitative trait loci. Genome 39:558–567PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Ratcliffe OJ, Nadzan GC, Reuber TL, Riechmann JL (2001) Regulation of flowering in Arabidopsis by an FLC homologue. Plant Physiol 126:122–132PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Roberts LS, Robson F, Sharpe A, Lydiate D, Coupland G (1998) Conserved structure and function of the Arabidopsis flowering time gene CONSTANS in Brassica napus. Plant Mol Biol 37:763–772CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Schmidt R, Acarkan A, Boivin K (2001) Comparative structural genomics in the Brassicaceae family. Plant Physiol Biochem 39:253–262CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Scortecci KC, Michaels SD, Amasino RM (2001) Identification of a MADS-box gene Flowering Locus M that represses flowering. Plant J 26(2):229–236PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Sheldon CC, Burn JE, Perez PP, Metzger J, Edwards JA, Peacock WJ, Dennis ES (1999) The FLF MADS box gene: a repressor of flowering in Arabidopsis regulated by vernalization and methylation. Plant Cell 11:445–458PubMedGoogle Scholar
  48. Simpson GG, Gendall AR, Dean C (1999) When to switch to flowering. Annu Rev Cell Dev Biol 99:519–50CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Slocum MK, Figdore SS, Kennard WC, Suzuki JY, Osborn TC (1990) Linkage arrangement of restriction fragment length polymorphism loci in Brassica oleracea. Theor Appl Genet 80: 57–64CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Song KM, Suzuki JY, Slocum MK, Williams PH, Osborn TC (1991) A linkage map of Brassica rapa (syn. campestris) based on restriction fragment length polymorphism loci. Theor Appl Genet 82:296–304CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Song K, Slocum MK, Osborn TC (1995) Molecular marker analysis of genes controlling morphological variation in Brassica rapa (syn. campestris). Theor Appl Genet 90:1–10Google Scholar
  52. Tadege M, Sheldon CC, Helliwell CA, Stoutjesdijk P, Dennis ES, Peacock WJ (2001) Control of flowering time by FLC orthologues in Brassica napus. Plant J 28:545–553PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Teutonico RA, Osborn TC (1995) Mapping loci controlling vernalization requirement in Brassica rapa. Theor Appl Genet 91:1279–1283CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. U N (1935) Genomic analysis in Brassica with special reference to the experimental formation of B. napus and peculiar mode of fertilization. Jpn J Bot 7:389–452Google Scholar
  55. Williams PH, Hill C (1986) Rapid cycling populations of Brassica. Science 232:1285–1289CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Yang YW, Lai KN, Tai PY, Li WH (1999) Rates of nucleotide substitution in angiosperm mitochondrial DNA sequences and dates of divergence between Brassica and other angiosperm lineages. J Mol Evol 48:597–604PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. C. Osborn
    • 1
  • L. Lukens
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AgronomyUniversity of WisconsinMadisonUSA

Personalised recommendations