Genetic diversity, population structure and marker trait associations for seed quality traits in cotton (Gossypium hirsutum)
Cottonseed contains 16% seed oil and 23% seed protein by weight. High levels of palmitic acid provides a degree of stability to the oil, while the presence of bound gossypol in proteins considerably changes their properties, including their biological value. This study uses genetic principles to identify genomic regions associated with seed oil, protein and fibre content in upland cotton cultivars. Cotton association mapping panel representing the US germplasm were genotyped using amplified fragment length polymorphism markers, yielding 234 polymorphic DNA fragments. Phenotypic analysis showed high genetic variability for the seed traits, seed oil range from 6.47-25.16%, protein from 1.85-28.45% and fibre content from 15.88-37.12%. There were negative correlations between seed oil and protein content.With reference to genetic diversity, the average estimate of FST was 8.852 indicating a low level of genetic differentiation among subpopulations. The AMOVA test revealed that variation was 94% within and 6% among subpopulations. Bayesian population structure identified five subpopulations and was in agreement with their geographical distribution. Among the mixed models analysed, mixed linear model (MLM) identified 21 quantitative trait loci for lint percentage and seed quality traits, such as seed protein and oil. Establishing genetic diversity, population structure and marker trait associations for the seed quality traits could be valuable in understanding the genetic relationships and their utilization in breeding programmes.
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