High-Resolution Linkage Map With Allele Dosage Allows the Identification of Regions Governing Complex Traits and Apospory in Guinea Grass (Megathyrsus maximus)

Thamiris G Deo, Rebecca Caroline Ulbricht Ferreira, Leticia De Castro Lara, Aline C L Moraes, Alessandro Alves-Pereira, Fernanda A de Oliveira, Antonio A. F. Garcia, Mateus F. Santos, Liana Jank, Anete Pereira de Souza

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Forage grasses are mainly used in animal feed to fatten cattle and dairy herds, and guinea grass (Megathyrsus maximus) is considered one of the most productive of the tropical forage crops that reproduce by seeds. Due to the recent process of domestication, this species has several genomic complexities, such as autotetraploidy and aposporous apomixis. Consequently, approaches that relate phenotypic and genotypic data are incipient. In this context, we built a linkage map with allele dosage and generated novel information of the genetic architecture of traits that are important for the breeding of M. maximus. From a full-sib progeny, a linkage map containing 858 single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers with allele dosage information expected for an autotetraploid was obtained. The high genetic variability of the progeny allowed us to map 10 quantitative trait loci (QTLs) related to agronomic traits, such as regrowth capacity and total dry matter, and 36 QTLs related to nutritional quality, which were distributed among all homology groups (HGs). Various overlapping regions associated with the quantitative traits suggested QTL hotspots. In addition, we were able to map one locus that controls apospory (apo-locus) in HG II. A total of 55 different gene families involved in cellular metabolism and plant growth were identified from markers adjacent to the QTLs and APOSPORY locus using the Panicum virgatum genome as a reference in comparisons with the genomes of Arabidopsis thaliana and Oryza sativa. Our results provide a better understanding of the genetic basis of reproduction by apomixis and traits
Original languageEnglish
JournalFrontiers in plant science
Publication statusPublished - 26 Feb 2020


  • apospory
  • double reduction
  • forage
  • polyploidy
  • quantitative trait locus
  • single nucleotide polymorphism
  • trait correlations


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