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J Plant Res. 2012 May;125(3):395-406. doi: 10.1007/s10265-011-0459-1. Epub 2011 Oct 19.

Quantitative trait locus analysis of symbiotic nitrogen fixation activity in the model legume Lotus japonicus.

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  • 1United Graduate School of Agricultural Sciences, Kagoshima University, Kagoshima 890-0065, Japan.


Many legumes form nitrogen-fixing root nodules. An elevation of nitrogen fixation in such legumes would have significant implications for plant growth and biomass production in agriculture. To identify the genetic basis for the regulation of nitrogen fixation, quantitative trait locus (QTL) analysis was conducted with recombinant inbred lines derived from the cross Miyakojima MG-20 × Gifu B-129 in the model legume Lotus japonicus. This population was inoculated with Mesorhizobium loti MAFF303099 and grown for 14 days in pods containing vermiculite. Phenotypic data were collected for acetylene reduction activity (ARA) per plant (ARA/P), ARA per nodule weight (ARA/NW), ARA per nodule number (ARA/NN), NN per plant, NW per plant, stem length (SL), SL without inoculation (SLbac-), shoot dry weight without inoculation (SWbac-), root length without inoculation (RLbac-), and root dry weight (RWbac-), and finally 34 QTLs were identified. ARA/P, ARA/NN, NW, and SL showed strong correlations and QTL co-localization, suggesting that several plant characteristics important for symbiotic nitrogen fixation are controlled by the same locus. QTLs for ARA/P, ARA/NN, NW, and SL, co-localized around marker TM0832 on chromosome 4, were also co-localized with previously reported QTLs for seed mass. This is the first report of QTL analysis for symbiotic nitrogen fixation activity traits.

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