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PLoS One. 2017 Feb 16;12(2):e0172106. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0172106. eCollection 2017.

Genetic variation of maturity groups and four E genes in the Chinese soybean mini core collection.

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MOA Key Laboratory of Soybean Biology (Beijing), Institute of Crop Science, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing, China.
Jining Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Jining, Shandong, China.
School of Agronomy, Anhui Agricultural University, Hefei, China.
Heihe Branch of Heilongjiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Heihe, China.
College of Agronomy, Northeast Agricultural University, Harbin, China.
Oil Crops Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Science, Wuhan, China.
Department of Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas, United States of America.


The mini core collection (MCC) has been established by streamlining core collection (CC) chosen from China National Genebank including 23,587 soybean (Glycine max) accessions by morphological traits and simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers. Few studies have been focused on the maturity that has been considered as one of the most critical traits for the determination of the adaptation-growing region of the soybean. In the current study, two hundred and ninty-nine accessions of MCC planted for two years at four locations namely in Heihe, Harbin, Jining and Wuhan cities in China were used to assess the variation of maturity in MCC and identify the integrated effect of 4 E loci on flowering and maturity time in soybean. Forty-two North American varieties served as references of maturity groups (MG). Each accession in MCC was classified by comparing with the MG references in the days from VE (emergence) and physiological maturity (R7). The results showed that MCC covered a large range of MGs from MG000 to MGIX/X. Original locations and sowing types were revealed as the major affecting factors for maturity groups of the MCC accessions. The ratio of the reproductive period to the vegetative period (R/V) varied among MCC accessions. Genotyping of 4 maturity genes (i.e. E1, E2, E3 and E4) in 228 accessions indicated that recessive alleles e1, e2, e3 and e4 promoted earlier flowering and shortened the maturity time with different effects, while the dominate alleles were always detected in accessions with longer maturity. The allelic combinations determined the diversification of soybean maturity groups and adaptation to different regions. Our results indicated that the maturity of Chinese soybean MCC showed genetic diversities in phenotype and genotype, which provided information for further MG classification, geographic adaptation analysis of Chinese soybean cultivars, as well as developing new soybean varieties with adaptation to specific regions.

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