Salinity tolerance is highly desirable to sustain alfalfa production in marginal lands that have been rendered saline. In this study, we used a diverse panel of 198 alfalfa accessions for mapping loci associated with plant growth and forage production under salt stress using genome-wide association studies (GWAS). The plants were genotyped using genotyping-by-sequencing (GBS). A greenhouse procedure was used for phenotyping four agronomic and physiological traits affected by salt stress, including dry weight (DW), plant height (PH), leaf chlorophyll content (LCC), and stomatal conductance (SC). For each trait, a stress susceptibility index (SSI) was used to evaluate plant performance under stressed and non-stressed conditions. Marker-trait association identified a total of 42 markers significantly associated with salt tolerance. They were located on all chromosomes except chromosome 2 based on the alignment of their flanking sequences to the reference genome (Medicago truncatula). Of those identified, 13 were associated with multiple traits. Several loci identified in the present study were also identified in previous reports. BLAST search revealed that 19 putative candidate genes linked to 24 significant markers. Among them, B3 DNA-binding protein, Thiaminepyrophosphokinase and IQ calmodulin-binding motif protein were identified among multiple traits in the present and previous studies. With further investigation, these markers and candidates would be useful for developing markers for marker-assisted selection in breeding programs to improve alfalfa cultivars with enhanced tolerance to salt stress.
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Frontiers in Plant Science
|Public Access Level|
Liu, X., & Yu, L. (2017). Genome-Wide Association Mapping of Loci Associated with Plant Growth and Forage Production under Salt Stress in Alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.). Frontiers In Plant Science, 8.
National Institute of Food and Agriculture
Agricultural Research Service
- Genomics & Genetics
- Genomics & Genetics