Quantitative Trait Loci for Genotype and Genotype by Environment Interaction Effects for Seed Yield Plasticity to Terminal Water-Deficit Conditions in Canola (Brassica napus L.)
Canola plants suffer severe crop yield and oil content reductions when exposed to water-deficit conditions, especially during the reproductive stages of plant development. There is a pressing need to develop canola cultivars that can perform better under increased water-deficit conditions with changing weather patterns. In this study, we analysed genetic determinants for the main effects of quantitative trait loci (QTL), (Q), and the interaction effects of QTL and Environment (QE) underlying seed yield and related traits utilising 223 doubled haploid (DH) lines of canola in well-watered and water-deficit conditions under a rainout shelter. Moderate water-deficit at the pre-flowering stage reduced the seed yield to 40.8%. Multi-environmental QTL analysis revealed 23 genomic regions associated with days to flower (DTF), plant height (PH) and seed yield (SY) under well-watered and water-deficit conditions. Three seed yield QTL for main effects were identified on chromosomes A09, C03, and C09, while two were related to QE interactions on A02 and C09. Two QTL regions were co-localised to similar genomic regions for flowering time and seed yield (A09) and the second for plant height and chlorophyll content. The A09 QTL was co-located with a previously mapped QTL for carbon isotope discrimination (Δ13C) that showed a positive relationship with seed yield in the same population. Opposite allelic effects for plasticity in seed yield were identified due to QE interactions in response to water stress on chromosomes A02 and C09. Our results showed that QTL’s allelic effects for DTF, PH, and SY and their correlation with Δ13C are stable across environments (field conditions, previous study) and contrasting water regimes (this study). The QTL and DH lines that showed high yield under well-watered and water-deficit conditions could be used to manipulate water-use efficiency for breeding improved canola cultivars.
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