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A new polymorphism on chromosome 6 associated with bolting tendency in sugar beet

  • Author(s): Broccanello, C;
  • Stevanato, P;
  • Biscarini, F;
  • Cantu, D;
  • Saccomani, M
  • et al.

Background: Premature flowering or bolting is an undesirable characteristic that causes severe sugar yield losses and interferes with harvesting. Vernalization is a prerequisite for the floral induction, achieved by exposure to low temperatures for 10-14 weeks. This process is also controlled by other environmental factors, such as long daylight photoperiods and a combination of genetic factors. The objective of this study was the identification of new genetic polymorphisms linked to bolting tendency in sugar beet. Results: Two pollinators characterized by low and high bolting tendency were subjected to RAD-sequencing in order to detect discriminating SNPs between lines. 6,324 putative SNPs were identified. Of these, 192 were genotyped in a set of 19 pollinators, each comprising bolted and non-bolted individuals, for a total of 987 samples. Among the 192 candidate SNPs, the strongest overall association was found for SNP183 on chromosome 6 (p-value = 1.246·10-13). The association between SNP183 and bolting tendency was then confirmed in an independent population of 730 plants from 11 breeding lines (p-value = 0.0061). SNP183 is located in the intron of Bv_22330_orky, a sugar beet homolog of a matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) gene that could be implied in flowering in Arabidopsis thaliana. Conclusion: Our data support a significant association between an intronic SNP in the MMP gene located on chromosome 6 and the regulation of bolting tendency in sugar beet. The newly identified locus supports the polygenic nature of flowering control. The associated marker can be used to design SNP panels for the discrimination of bolters and non-bolters, to be used in sugar beet breeding programs for the development of improved germplasm with low bolting tendency.

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