Background Tuber yield and starch content of the cultivated potato are complex traits of decisive importance for breeding improved varieties. Natural variation of tuber yield and starch content depends on the environment and on multiple, mostly unknown genetic factors. Dissection and molecular identification of the genes and their natural allelic variants controlling these complex traits will lead to the development of diagnostic DNA-based markers, by which precision and efficiency of selection can be increased (precision breeding). Results Three case-control populations were assembled from tetraploid potato cultivars based on maximizing the differences between high and low tuber yield (TY), starch content (TSC) and starch yield (TSY, arithmetic product of TY and TSC). The case-control populations were genotyped by restriction-site associated DNA sequencing (RADseq) and the 8.3 k SolCAP SNP genotyping array. The allele frequencies of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were compared between cases and controls. RADseq identified, depending on data filtering criteria, between 6664 and 450 genes with one or more differential SNPs for one, two or all three traits. Differential SNPs in 275 genes were detected using the SolCAP array. A genome wide association study using the SolCAP array on an independent, unselected population identified SNPs associated with tuber starch content in 117 genes. Physical mapping of the genes containing differential or associated SNPs, and comparisons between the two genome wide genotyping methods and two different populations identified genome segments on all twelve potato chromosomes harboring one or more quantitative trait loci (QTL) for TY, TSC and TSY. Conclusions Several hundred genes control tuber yield and starch content in potato. They are unequally distributed on all potato chromosomes, forming clusters between 0.5–4 Mbp width. The largest fraction of these genes had unknown function, followed by genes with putative signalling and regulatory functions. The genetic control of tuber yield and starch content is interlinked. Most differential SNPs affecting both traits had antagonistic effects: The allele increasing TY decreased TSC and vice versa. Exceptions were 89 SNP alleles which had synergistic effects on TY, TSC and TSY. These and the corresponding genes are primary targets for developing diagnostic markers.
|Date made available||22 Aug 2017|