Genomic analysis of ionome-related QTLs in Arabidopsis thaliana

Ionome contributes to maintain cell integrity and acts as cofactors for catalyzing regulatory pathways. Identifying ionome contributing genomic regions provides a practical framework to dissect the genetic architecture of ionomic traits for use in biofortification. Meta-QTL (MQTL) analysis is a robust method to discover stable genomic regions for traits regardless of the genetic background. This study used information of 483 QTLs for ionomic traits identified from 12 populations for MQTL analysis inArabidopsis thaliana. The selected QTLs were projected onto the newly constructed genetic consensus map and 33 MQTLs distributed on A. thaliana chromosomes were identified. The average confidence interval (CI) of the drafted MQTLs was 1.30 cM, reduced eight folds from a mean CI of 10.88 cM for the original QTLs. Four MQTLs were considered as stable MQTLs over different genetic backgrounds and environments.

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Fig: Distribution of QTL associated with different ionomic traits across the A. thaliana chromosomes. The numbers inside parentheses represent the number of QTL in each trait.

In parallel to the gene density over the A. thaliana genome, the genomic distribution of MQTLs over the genetic and physical maps indicated the highest density at non- and sub-telomeric chromosomal regions, respectively. Several candidate genes identified in the MQTLs intervals were associated with ion transportation, tolerance, and homeostasis. The genomic context of the identified MQTLs suggested nine chromosomal regions for Zn, Mn, and Fe control. The QTLs for potassium (K) and phosphorus (P) were the most frequently co-located with Zn (78.3%), Mn (76.2%), and Fe (88.2% and 70.6%) QTLs. The current MQTL analysis demonstrates that meta-QTL analysis is cheaper than, and as informative as genome-wide association study (GWAS) in refining the known QTLs.

Shariatipour, N., Heidari, B., Ravi, S. et al. Genomic analysis of ionome-related QTLs in Arabidopsis thalianaSci Rep 11, 19194 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-98592-7

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