Novel insights into seed fatty acid synthesis and modification pathways from genetic diversity and quantitative trait loci analysis of the Brassica C genome
Barker, GC, Larson, TR, Graham, IA, Lynn, JR, King, G J 2007, 'Novel insights into seed fatty acid synthesis and modification pathways from genetic diversity and quantitative trait loci analysis of the Brassica C genome', Plant Physiology, vol. 144, no. 4, pp. 1827-1842.
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Natural genetic variation in fatty acid synthesis and modification pathways determine the composition of vegetable oils, which are major components of human diet and renewable products. Based on known pathways we combined diversity and genetic analysis of metabolites to infer the existence of enzymes encoded by distinct loci, and associated these with specific elongation steps or subpathways. A total of 107 lines representing different Brassica genepools revealed considerable variation for 18 seed fatty acid products. The effect of genetic variation within a single biochemical step on subsequent products was demonstrated using a correlation matrix of scatterplots, and by calculating relative step yields. Surprisingly, diploid Brassica oleracea segregating populations had a similar range of variation for individual fatty acids as across the whole genepool. This allowed identification of 22 quantitative trait loci (QTL) associated with activity in the plastid, early stages of synthesis, desaturation, and elongases. Four QTL were assigned to early stages of synthesis, seven to subpathway specific or general elongase activity, one to ketoacyl acyl-carrier protein synthetase, and two each to fatty acid desaturase and either desaturase or fatty acyl-carrier protein thioesterase. An additional 10 QTL had distinct effects but were not assigned specific functions. Where contrasting behavior in more than one subpathway was detected, we inferred QTL specificity for particular combinations of substrate and product. The assignment of enzyme function to QTL was consistent with the known position of some Brassicaeae candidate genes and collinear regions of the Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) genome.