QTL meta-analysis inArabidopsisreveals an interaction between leaf senescence and resource allocation to seeds

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Sequential and monocarpic senescence are observed at vegetative and reproductive stages, respectively. Both facilitate nitrogen (N) remobilization and control the duration of carbon (C) fixation. Genetic and environmental factors control N and C resource allocation to seeds. Studies of natural variation inArabidopsis thalianarevealed differences between accessions for leaf senescence phenotypes, seed N and C contents, and N remobilization efficiency-related traits. Here, a quantitative genetics approach was used to gain a better understanding of seed filling regulation in relation to leaf senescence and resource allocation. For that purpose, threeArabidopsisrecombinant inbred line populations (Ct-1×Col-0,Cvi-0×Col-0,Bur-0×Col-0) were used to map QTL (quantitative trait loci) for ten traits related to senescence, resource allocation, and seed filling. The use of common markers across the three different maps allowed direct comparisons of the positions of the detected QTL in a single consensus map. QTL meta-analysis was then used to identify interesting regions (metaQTL) where QTL for several traits co-localized. MetaQTL were compared with positions of candidate genes known to be involved in senescence processes and flowering time. Finally, investigation of the correlation between yield and seed N concentration in the three populations suggests that leaf senescence disrupts the negative correlation generally observed between these two traits.

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