Epigenetic QTL mapping in Brassica napus

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Long, Y, Xia, W, Li, R, Wang, J, Shao, M, Feng, J, King, GJ, & Meng, J 2011, 'Epigenetic QTL mapping in Brassica napus', Genetics, vol. 189, no. 3, pp. 1093-102.

The publisher's version of this article is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1534/genetics.111.131615

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There is increasing evidence that epigenetic marks such as DNA methylation contribute to phenotypic variation by regulating gene transcription, developmental plasticity, and interactions with the environment. However, relatively little is known about the relationship between the stability and distribution of DNA methylation within chromosomes and the ability to detect trait loci. Plant genomes have a distinct range of target sites and more extensive DNA methylation than animals. We analyzed the stability and distribution of epialleles within the complex genome of the oilseed crop plant Brassica napus. For methylation sensitive AFLP (MSAP) and retrotransposon (RT) epimarkers, we found a high degree of stability, with 90% of mapped markers retaining their allelic pattern in contrasting environments and developmental stages. Moreover, for two distinct parental lines 97% of epialleles were transmitted through five meioses and segregated in a mapping population. For the first time we have established the genetic position for 17 of the 19 centromeres within this amphidiploid species. Epiloci and genetic loci were distributed within distinct clusters, indicating differential detection of recombination events. This enabled us to identify additional significant QTL associated with seven important agronomic traits in the centromeric regions of five linkage groups

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