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Plant Cell Environ. 2017 Aug;40(8):1429-1441. doi: 10.1111/pce.12938. Epub 2017 Apr 27.

Quantitative trait loci controlling leaf venation in Arabidopsis.

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Botanical Institute, University of Cologne, Cologne Biocenter, 50674, Cologne, Germany.
Max-Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research, 50829, Cologne, Germany.
Universitätsstrasse 1, Cluster of Excellence on Plant Sciences, D-40225, Düsseldorf, Germany.
Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH, IBG-2: Plant Sciences, 52425, Jülich, Germany.
Laboratory of Genetics, Wageningen University and Research, 6708 PB, Wageningen, The Netherlands.


Leaf veins provide the mechanical support and are responsible for the transport of nutrients and water to the plant. High vein density is a prerequisite for plants to have C4 photosynthesis. We investigated the genetic variation and genetic architecture of leaf venation traits within the species Arabidopsis thaliana using natural variation. Leaf venation traits, including leaf vein density (LVD) were analysed in 66 worldwide accessions and 399 lines of the multi-parent advanced generation intercross population. It was shown that there is no correlation between LVD and photosynthesis parameters within A. thaliana. Association mapping was performed for LVD and identified 16 and 17 putative quantitative trait loci (QTLs) in the multi-parent advanced generation intercross and worldwide sets, respectively. There was no overlap between the identified QTLs suggesting that many genes can affect the traits. In addition, linkage mapping was performed using two biparental recombinant inbred line populations. Combining linkage and association mapping revealed seven candidate genes. For one of the candidate genes, RCI2c, we demonstrated its function in leaf venation patterning.


Arabidopsis natural variation; RC12C; leaf thickness; multiparent populations; photosynthesis; vein structure

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