Association of functional markers with flowering time in lentil
In the present study, a diverse panel of 96 accessions of lentil germplasm was used to study flowering time over environments and to identify simple sequence repeat markers associated with flowering time through association mapping. The study showed high broad sense heritability estimate (h Â² bs=0.93) for flowering time in lentil. Screening of 534 SSR markers resulted in an identification of 75 SSR polymorphic markers (13.9%) across studied genotypes. These markers amplified 266 loci and generated 697 alleles ranging from two to 16 alleles per locus. Model-based cluster analysis used for the determination of population structure resulted in the identification of two distinct subpopulations. Distribution of flowering time was ranged from 40 to 70 days in subpopulation I and from 54 to 69 days in subpopulation II and did not skew either late or early flowering time within a subpopulation. No admixture was observed within the subpopulations. Use of the most accepted maximum likelihood model (P3D mixed linear model with optimum compression) of MTA analysis showed significant association of 26 SSR markers with flowering time at <0.05 probability. The percent of phenotypic explained by each associated marker with flowering time ranged from 2.1 to 21.8% and identified QTLs for flowering time explaining high phenotypic variation across the environments (10.7-21.8%) or in a particular environment (10.2-21.4%). In the present study, 13 EST-SSR showed significant association with flowering time and explained large phenotypic variation (2.3-21.8%) compared to genomic SSR markers (2.1-10.2%). Hence, these markers can be used as functional markers in the lentil breeding program to develop short duration cultivars.
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