The growth period traits are important traits that affect soybean yield. The insights into the genetic basis of growth period traits can provide theoretical basis for cultivated area division, rational distribution, and molecular breeding for soybean varieties. In this study, genome-wide association analysis (GWAS) was exploited to detect the quantitative trait loci (QTL) for number of days to flowering (ETF), number of days from flowering to maturity (FTM), and number of days to maturity (ETM) using 4032 single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers with 146 cultivars mainly from Northeast China. Results showed that abundant phenotypic variation was presented in the population, and variation explained by genotype, environment, and genotype by environment interaction were all significant for each trait. The whole accessions could be clearly clustered into two subpopulations based on their genetic relatedness, and accessions in the same group were almost from the same province. GWAS based on the unified mixed model identified 19 significant SNPs distributed on 11 soybean chromosomes, 12 of which can be consistently detected in both planting densities, and 5 of which were pleotropic QTL. Of 19 SNPs, 7 SNPs located in or close to the previously reported QTL or genes controlling growth period traits. The QTL identified with high resolution in this study will enrich our genomic understanding of growth period traits and could then be explored as genetic markers to be used in genomic applications in soybean breeding.
Liu, Z., Li, H., Fan, X., Huang, W., Yang, J., Li, C., … Qiu, L. J. (2016). Phenotypic characterization and genetic dissection of growth period traits in soybean (Glycine max) using association mapping. PLoS ONE, 11(7). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0158602