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Journal of Applied Genetics 49(1), 2008, pp. 23-31

Mapping QTLs for root morphological traits in Brassica rapa L. based on AFLP and RAPD markers

Gang Lu, Jiashu Cao, Xiaolin Yu, Xun Xiang, Hang Chen

Abstract: Root growth and thickening plays a key role in the final productivity and even the quality of storage roots in root crops. This study was conducted to identify and map quantitative trait loci (QTLs) affecting root morphological traits in Brassica rapa by using molecular markers. An F2 population was developed from a cross between Chinese cabbage (Brassica rapa ssp. chinensis) and turnip (B. rapa ssp. rapifera), which differed greatly in root characters. A genetic map covering 1837.1 cM, with 192 marker loci and 11 linkage groups, was constructed by using this F2 population. The F3 families derived from F2 plants were grown in the field and evaluated for taproot traits (thickness, length, and weight). QTL analysis via simple interval mapping detected 18 QTLs for the 3 root traits, including 7 QTLs for taproot thickness, 5 QTLs for taproot length, and 6 QTLs for taproot weight. Individually, the QTLs accounted for 8.4-27.4% of the phenotypic variation. The 2 major QTLs, qTRT4b for taproot thickness and qTRW4 for taproot weight, explained 27.4% and 24.8% of the total phenotypic variance, respectively. The QTLs for root traits, firstly detected in Brassica crops, may provide a basis for marker-assisted selection to improve productivity in root-crop breeding.

Key words: Brassica rapa L., turnip, Chinese cabbage, molecular markers, taproot characters, quantitative trait loci.

Correspondence: G. Lu, Department of Horticulture, Zhejiang University, Kaixuan Road 268, Hangzhou 310029, P.R. China; e-mail:

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