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Genome-wide association study identified candidate genes for seed size and seed composition improvement in M. truncatula

Abstract : Grain legumes are highly valuable plant species, as they produce seeds with high protein content. Increasing seed protein production and improving seed nutritional quality represent an agronomical challenge in order to promote plant protein consumption of a growing population. In this study, we used the genetic diversity, naturally present in Medicago truncatula, a model plant for legumes, to identify genes/loci regulating seed traits. Indeed, using sequencing data of 162 accessions from the Medicago HAPMAP collection, we performed genome-wide association study for 32 seed traits related to seed size and seed composition such as seed protein content/concentration, sulfur content/concentration. Using different GWAS and postGWAS methods, we identified 79 quantitative trait nucleotides (QTNs) as regulating seed size, 41 QTNs for seed composition related to nitrogen (i.e. storage protein) and sulfur (i.e. sulfur-containing amino acid) concentrations/contents. Furthermore, a strong positive correlation between seed size and protein content was revealed within the selected Medicago HAPMAP collection. In addition, several QTNs showed highly significant associations in different seed phenotypes for further functional validation studies, including one near an RNA-Binding Domain protein, which represents a valuable candidate as central regulator determining both seed size and composition. Finally, our findings in M. truncatula represent valuable resources to be exploitable in many legume crop species such as pea, common bean, and soybean due to its high synteny, which enable rapid transfer of these results into breeding programs and eventually help the improvement of legume grain production.
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Contributor : Olivier Dupre <>
Submitted on : Thursday, March 25, 2021 - 2:05:31 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, July 8, 2021 - 1:38:04 PM

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Zhijuan Chen, Vanessa Lancon-Verdier, Christine Le Signor, Yi-Min She, Yun Kang, et al.. Genome-wide association study identified candidate genes for seed size and seed composition improvement in M. truncatula. Scientific Reports, Nature Publishing Group, 2021, 11 (1), pp.4224. ⟨10.1038/s41598-021-83581-7⟩. ⟨hal-03181110⟩



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