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First insights into the genetic factors underlying post-flowering drought tolerance in flax.

Soto-Cerda BJ, Quian R, Gajardo H, Cloutier S (2018) First insights into the genetic factors underlying post-flowering drought tolerance in flax. Proc 26th Plant and Animal Genome Conference, San Diego, CA, January 13-17, P1187 (poster)


Drought stress acts simultaneously on many traits and developmental stages which ultimately affects seed yield of crops worldwide. In particular, drought stress at the reproductive stage (flowering and seed development) can result in the most significant reductions in crop production. In this study, yield and yield-related drought tolerance indices were assessed on 120 flaxseed accessions under mild drought and irrigated conditions at flowering time. A set of ~700,000 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) was screened for marker-trait associations using general models. In average, drought stress reduced seed yield by 18% and start of flowering was brought forward by 5 days. Based on the stress tolerance index (STI), three genomic regions on linkage groups 2, 7 and 9 were identified which explained 68.2% (R2) of the phenotypic variation. Ten candidate genes were located nearby peak SNPs (~50 kb either side) where a clathrin heavy chain 1 (CHC1), a mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), a peptide chain release factor and a CCCH-type zinc finger protein genes, which have previously been involved in drought response in other crops were the most promising candidates for further studies. This information provides important genetic insights into the natural variation of flaxseed drought tolerance. The identified SNPs or candidate genes could serve as direct targets for both genetic engineering and selection for flaxseed trait improvement. This research was supported by Fondo Nacional para el Desarrollo Científico y Tecnológico (FONDECYT) Chile, project N° 1161133.

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