Clonal propagation and genetic engineering of plants requires regeneration, but many species are recalcitrant and there is large variability in explant responses. Here, we perform a genome-wide association study using 190 natural Arabidopsis accessions to dissect the genetics of shoot regeneration from root explants and several related in vitro traits. Strong variation is found in the recorded phenotypes and association mapping pinpoints a myriad of quantitative trait genes, including prior candidates and potential novel regeneration determinants. As most of these genes are trait- and protocol-specific, we propose a model wherein shoot regeneration is governed by many conditional fine-tuning factors and a few universal master regulators such as WUSCHEL, whose transcript levels correlate with natural variation in regenerated shoot numbers. Potentially novel genes in this last category are AT3G09925, SUP, EDA40 and DOF4.4. We urge future research in the field to consider multiple conditions and genetic backgrounds.
|Publication status||Published - 2 Oct 2020|