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Research Project: Genetic Analysis of Complex Traits in Maize

Location: Plant Science Research

Title: Genome-wide association study reveals a set of genes associated with resistance to the Mediterranean corn borer (Sesamia nonagrioides L.) in a maize diversity panel

item SAMAYOA, LUIS - Biological Mission Of Galicia Spain
item MALVAR, ROSA ANA - Biological Mission Of Galicia Spain
item OLUKOLU, BODE - North Carolina State University
item Holland, Jim - Jim
item BUTRON, ANA - Biological Mission Of Galicia Spain

Submitted to: Biomed Central (BMC) Plant Biology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/22/2014
Publication Date: 2/5/2015
Citation: Samayoa, L.F., Malvar, R., Olukolu, B., Holland, J.B., Butron, A. 2015. Genome-wide association study reveals a set of genes associated with resistance to the Mediterranean corn borer (Sesamia nonagrioides L.) in a maize diversity panel. Biomed Central (BMC) Plant Biology. 15:35.

Interpretive Summary: Corn borers are the most damaging insect pest of maize worldwide. We evaluated a diverse panel of inbred lines for several traits related to resistance to Mediterranean corn borer. The panel was also genotyped densely, enabling a genome-wide association study to find genes controlling resistance. Corn borer resistance is complex, with many genes of small effect involved in its control, but we identified a small number of genes associated with larger effects on resistance. This study provides the first evidence for specific genes involved in host resistance to corn borers.

Technical Abstract: Corn borers are the primary maize pest in many environments; their feeding on the pith of the stem results in yield losses because stem damage interferes with assimilate movement to developing kernels. In this study, we performed genome-wide association study (GWAS) to identify SNPs associated with resistance to Mediterranean corn borer (MCB) in a maize diversity panel using a set of more than 440 Kbp SNPs distributed in the whole maize genome. Twenty four SNPs were significantly associated with three resistance traits to MCB attack. Of which 10 were significantly associated with tunnel length (TL), 4 were associated with stem damage (SD), and eleven were associated with kernel resistance (KR). A remarkable proportion of the phenotypic variance is explained by each SNP (0.06 – 0.09 %). A set of genes containing of nearly to these SNPs are proposed as candidates which most of them could be involved in defense mechanism of the plant based on previous published evidence. The linked disequilibrium in surrounding region of each significantly SNP decay (r2 < 0.10) rapidly in small distance. Most of the candidate genes found in this study are part of the signaling pathway, others act as regulator of expression under biotic stress condition, and a few genes are encoding enzymes with antibiotic effect against insects such as the cystatin1 gene and the defensin proteins. These findings contributing to the understanding the complex relationship between plant-insect interactions.