Genetic Analysis of Root and Shoot Traits in the ‘Essex’ By ‘Forrest’ Recombinant Inbred Line (RIL) Population of Soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.]
Crop productivity is severely reduced by water deficit and drought in many plant species including soybean. Improved root and shoot traits can contribute to drought tolerance ability of the plant. This research was conducted to identify QTL that underlie several root and shoot traits in the ‘Essex’ by ‘Forrest’ (ExF RILs, n=94) recombinant inbred line (RIL) soybean population. Field collected samples were used for gathering phenotypic data of basal root thickness (BRT), lateral root number (LRN), maximum root length (MRL), root fresh weight (RFW), root dry weight (RDW), shoot fresh weight (SFW), shoot dry weight (SDW), and calculating RFW/SFW, and RDW/SDW ratios. All traits and ratios were compared against DNA markers using the composite interval mapping (CIM). A total of 12 QTL: 3 for MRL, 1 QTL for LRN, 1 QTL for BRT, 2 QTL for RFW, 2 QTL for RDW, 4 QTL for SFW, 3 QTL for SDW, and 3 QTL for SFW/SDW were identified and mapped on different linkage groups (LGs) A2, B2, C2, D1a, F, G, and N. The LOD scores of these QTL ranged from 2.5 to 6.0. No QTL were associated with RFW/RDW. The root and shoot trait QTL of this study may benefit breeding programs for producing cultivars tolerant to water deficit and high yield. Preliminary analyses of genes the QTL regions using GO annotation gave insight into genes that may underlie some of these QTLs.