Flavonoids are secondary metabolites that are extensively distributed in the plant kingdom and contribute to seed coat color formation in rapeseed. To decipher the genetic networks underlying flavonoid biosynthesis in rapeseed, we constructed a high-density genetic linkage map with 1089 polymorphic loci (including 464 SSR loci, 97 RAPD loci, 451 SRAP loci, and 75 IBP loci) using recombinant inbred lines (RILs). The map consists of 19 linkage groups and covers 2775 cM of the B. napus genome with an average distance of 2.54 cM between adjacent markers. We then performed expression quantitative trait locus (eQTL) analysis to detect transcript-level variation of 18 flavonoid biosynthesis pathway genes in the seeds of the 94 RILs. In total, 72 eQTLs were detected and found to be distributed among 15 different linkage groups that account for 4.11% to 52.70% of the phenotypic variance atrributed to each eQTL. Using a genetical genomics approach, four eQTL hotspots together harboring 28 eQTLs associated with 18 genes were found on chromosomes A03, A09, and C08 and had high levels of synteny with genome sequences of A. thaliana and Brassica species. Associated with the trans-eQTL hotspots on chromosomes A03, A09, and C08 were 5, 17, and 1 genes encoding transcription factors, suggesting that these genes have essential roles in the flavonoid biosynthesis pathway. Importantly, bZIP25, which is expressed specifically in seeds, MYC1, which controls flavonoid biosynthesis, and the R2R3-type gene MYB51, which is involved in the synthesis of secondary metabolites, were associated with the eQTL hotspots, and these genes might thus be involved in different flavonoid biosynthesis pathways in rapeseed. Hence, further studies of the functions of these genes will provide insight into the regulatory mechanism underlying flavonoid biosynthesis, and lay the foundation for elaborating the molecular mechanism of seed coat color formation in B. napus.
Qu, C., Zhao, H., Fu, F., Zhang, K., Yuan, J., Liu, L., … Li, J.-N. (2016). Molecular Mapping and QTL for Expression Profiles of Flavonoid Genes in Brassica napus. Frontiers in Plant Science, 7. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpls.2016.01691