To capture diverse alleles at a set of loci associated with disease resistance in maize, heterogeneous inbred family (HIF) analysis was applied for targeted QTL mapping and near-isogenic line (NIL) development. Tropical maize lines CML52 and DK888 were chosen as donors of alleles based on their known resistance to multiple diseases. Chromosomal regions ("bins"; n = 39) associated with multiple disease resistance (MDR) were targeted based on a consensus map of disease QTLs in maize. We generated HIFs segregating for the targeted loci but isogenic at ~97% of the genome. To test the hypothesis that CML52 and DK888 alleles at MDR hotspots condition broad-spectrum resistance, HIFs and derived NILs were tested for resistance to northern leaf blight (NLB), southern leaf blight (SLB), gray leaf spot (GLS), anthracnose leaf blight (ALB), anthracnose stalk rot (ASR), common rust, common smut, and Stewarts wilt. Four NLB QTLs, two ASR QTLs, and one Stewarts wilt QTL were identified. In parallel, a population of 196 recombinant inbred lines (RILs) derived from B73 × CML52 was evaluated for resistance to NLB, GLS, SLB, and ASR. The QTLs mapped (four for NLB, five for SLB, two for GLS, and two for ASR) mostly corresponded to those found using the NILs. Combining HIF- and RIL-based analyses, we discovered two disease QTLs at which CML52 alleles were favorable for more than one disease. A QTL in bin 1.06-1.07 conferred resistance to NLB and Stewarts wilt, and a QTL in 6.05 conferred resistance to NLB and ASR.
Nested association mapping (NAM) offers power to resolve complex, quantitative traits to their causal loci. The maize NAM population, consisting of 5,000 recombinant inbred lines (RILs) from 25 families representing the global diversity of maize, was evaluated for resistance to southern leaf blight (SLB) disease. Joint-linkage analysis identified 32 quantitative trait loci (QTLs) with predominantly small, additive effects on SLB resistance. Genome-wide association tests of maize HapMap SNPs were conducted by imputing founder SNP genotypes onto the NAM RILs. SNPs both within and outside of QTL intervals were associated with variation for SLB resistance. Many of these SNPs were within or near sequences homologous to genes previously shown to be involved in plant disease resistance. Limited linkage disequilibrium was observed around some SNPs associated with SLB resistance, indicating that the maize NAM population enables high-resolution mapping of some genome regions.
ABSTRACT The mixed linear model (MLM) is an advanced statistical technique applicable to many fields of science. The multivariate MLM can be used to model longitudinal data, such as repeated ratings of disease resistance taken across time. In this study, using an example data set from a multi-environment trial of northern leaf blight disease on 290 maize lines with diverse levels of resistance, multivariate MLM analysis was performed and its utility was examined. In the population and environments tested, genotypic effects were highly correlated across disease ratings and followed an autoregressive pattern of correlation decay. Because longitudinal data are often converted to the univariate measure of area under the disease progress curve (AUDPC), comparisons between univariate MLM analysis of AUDPC and multivariate MLM analysis of longitudinal data were made. Univariate analysis had the advantage of simplicity and reduced computational demand, whereas multivariate analysis enabled a comprehensive perspective on disease development, providing the opportunity for unique insights into disease resistance. To aid in the application of multivariate MLM analysis of longitudinal data on disease resistance, annotated program syntax for model fitting is provided for the software ASReml.
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