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Plant Physiol. 2004 May;135(1):444-58. Epub 2004 Apr 30.

Quantitative trait locus analysis of growth-related traits in a new Arabidopsis recombinant inbred population.

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Laboratory of Genetics, Plant Science Department, Wageningen University, Arboretumlaan 4, 6703 BD Wageningen, The Netherlands.


Arabidopsis natural variation was used to analyze the genetics of plant growth rate. Screening of 22 accessions revealed a large variation for seed weight, plant dry weight and relative growth rate but not for water content. A positive correlation was observed between seed weight and plant area 10 d after planting, suggesting that seed weight affects plant growth during early phases of development. During later stages of plant growth this correlation was not significant, indicating that other factors determine growth rate during this phase. Quantitative trait locus (QTL) analysis, using 114 (F9 generation) recombinant inbred lines derived from the cross between Landsberg erecta (Ler, from Poland) and Shakdara (Sha, from Tadjikistan), revealed QTLs for seed weight, plant area, dry weight, relative growth rate, chlorophyll fluorescence, flowering time, and flowering-related traits. Growth traits (plant area, dry weight, and relative growth rate) colocated at five genomic regions. At the bottom of chromosome 5, colocation was found of QTLs for leaf area, leaf initiation speed, specific leaf area, and chlorophyll fluorescence but not for dry weight, indicating that this locus might be involved in leaf development. No consistent relation between growth traits and flowering time was observed despite some colocations. Some of the QTLs detected for flowering time overlapped with loci detected in other recombinant inbred line populations, but also new loci were identified. This study shows that Arabidopsis can successfully be used to study the genetic basis of complex traits like plant growth rate.

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