Genetic analysis of cob resistance to F. verticillioides: another step towards the protection of maize from ear rot.
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Key messageWe lay the foundation for further research on maize resistance to Fusarium verticillioides cob rot by identifying a candidate resistance gene.AbstractFusarium verticillioides ear rot is the most common type of maize ear rot in the Huanghuaihai Plain of China. Ear rot resistance includes cob and kernel resistance. Most of the current literature concentrates on kernel resistance, and genetic studies on cob resistance are scarce. We aimed on identifying the QTLs responsible for F. verticillioides cob rot (FCR) resistance. Twenty-eight genes associated with 48 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were identified (P<10(-4)) to correlate with FCR resistance using a whole-genome association study. The major quantitative trait locus, qRcfv2, for FCR resistance was identified on chromosome 2 through linkage mapping and was validated in near-isogenic line populations. Two candidate genes associated with two SNPs were detected in the qRcfv2 region with a lower threshold (P<10(-3)). Through real-time fluorescence quantitative PCR, one candidate gene was found to have no expression in the cob but the other was expressed in response to F. verticillioides. These results lay a foundation for research on the resistance mechanisms of cob and provide resources for marker-assisted selection.
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