SPP 1530: Flowering Time Control - from Natural Variation to Crop Improvement

PP-13: Snowdon, Friedt

Flowering time, development and yield in oilseed rape (Brassica napus): sequence diversity in regulatory genes

Flowering time (FTi) genes play a key role as regulators of complex gene expression networks, and the influence of these networks on other complex systems means that FTi gene expression triggers a cascade of regulatory effects with a broad global effect on plant development. Hence, allelic and expression differences in FTi genes can play a central role in phenotypic variation throughput the plant lifecycle. A prime example for this is found in Brassica napus, a phenotypically and genetically diverse species with Snowdon Rapeseedenormous variation in vernalisation requirement and flowering traits. The species includes oilseed rape (canola), one of the most important oilseed crops worldwide. Previously we have identified QTL clusters related to plant development, seed yield and heterosis in winter oilseed rape that seem to be conserved in diverse genetic backgrounds. We suspect that these QTL are controlled by global regulatory genes that influence numerous traits at different developmental stages. Interestingly, many of the QTL clusters for yield and biomass heterosis appear to correspond to the positions of meta-QTL for FTi in spring-type and/or winter-type B. napus. Based on a hypothesis that diversity in FTi genes has a key influence on plant development and yield, the aim of this study is a detailed analysis of DNA sequence variation in regulatory FTi genes in B. napus , combined with an investigation of associations between FTi gene haplotypes, developmental traits, yield components and seed yield.


Project-related publications

Schiessl S, Samans B, Hüttel B, Reinhardt R and Snowdon RJ (2014). Capturing sequence variation among flowering-time regulatory gene homologues in the allopolyploid crop species Brassica napus. Front. Plant Sci. 5:404. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2014.00404

Edwards D, Batley J, Snowdon RJ (2013). Accessing complex crop genomes with next-generation sequencing. Theor. Appl. Genet. 126: 1-11

Clarke WE, Federico ML, Gajardo HA, Gerhardt DJ, Higgins E, Sharpe AG, Snowdon RJ, Parkin IAP, Iniguez-Luy FL (2013) Genomic DNA enrichment using sequence capture microarrays: a novel approach to discover sequence nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) in Brassica napus L. PLOS ONE, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0081992

Snowdon RJ, Iñiguez Luy FL (2012). Potential to improve oilseed rape and canola breeding in the genomics era. Plant Breeding 131: 351-360

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