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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Restriction site polymorphism-based candidate gene mapping for seedling drought tolerance in cowpea [Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp.]

  • Author(s): Muchero, Wellington
  • Ehlers, Jeffrey D.
  • Roberts, Philip A.
  • et al.

Quantitative trait loci (QTL) studies provide insight into the complexity of drought tolerance mechanisms. Molecular markers used in these studies also allow for marker-assisted selection (MAS) in breeding programs, enabling transfer of genetic factors between breeding lines without complete knowledge of their exact nature. However, potential for recombination between markers and target genes limit the utility of MAS-based strategies. Candidate gene mapping offers an alternative solution to identify trait determinants underlying QTL of interest. Here, we used restriction site polymorphisms to investigate co-location of candidate genes with QTL for seedling drought stress-induced premature senescence identified previously in cowpea. Genomic DNA isolated from 113 F2:8 RILs of drought-tolerant IT93K503-1 and drought susceptible CB46 genotypes was digested with combinations of EcoR1 and HpaII, Mse1, or Msp1 restriction enzymes and amplified with primers designed from 13 drought-responsive cDNAs. JoinMap 3.0 and MapQTL 4.0 software were used to incorporate polymorphic markers onto the AFLP map and to analyze their association with the drought response QTL. Seven markers co-located with peaks of previously identified QTL. Isolation, sequencing, and blast analysis of these markers confirmed their significant homology with drought or other abiotic stress-induced expressed sequence tags (EST) from cowpea and other plant systems. Further, homology with coding sequences for a multidrug resistance protein 3 and a photosystem I assembly protein ycf3 was revealed in two of these candidates. These results provide a platform for the identification and characterization of genetic trait determinants underlying seedling drought tolerance in cowpea.

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