ISSN 1392-3196 / e-ISSN 2335-8947
Zemdirbyste-Agriculture, vol. 105, No. 3 (2018), p. 279–286
DOI  10.13080/z-a.2018.105.036

Preliminary evidence of the associations between DNA markers and morphological characters in sunflower under natural and salt stress conditions



Soil salinity is a serious threat to agricultural products worldwide. Agricultural biotechnology mainly aims at developing plants with higher tolerance in order to face the challenging environmental conditions, such as drought and salinity. Identification of marker-character associations is the first step towards marker-aided selection in plant improvement programs. In the current study, quantitative trait loci (QTLs), associated with salt tolerance, were identified using 84 common sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) inbred lines, collected from different geographical origins. The lines were fingerprinted with 30 simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers. This generated 71 clear and scorable bands, 87% of which were polymorphic. Associations between SSR markers and 18 agronomic characters were analysed using mixed linear model (MLM). Based on SSR markers data, the association panel was subdivided into two subpopulations (K = 2). About 2.06% of the 435 possible locus pairs of the studied SSRs represented significant linkage disequilibrium (LD). Six and 13 SSR loci showed significant (P ≤ 0.01) association with the assessed characters under natural and salt stress conditions, respectively. Several molecular markers were significantly associated with more than one phenotypic character, suggesting the possible presence of genetic linkage or pleiotropic effects. The identified and associated markers are expected to be helpful in marker-aided selection in sunflower breeding programmes.

Key words: abiotic stress, linkage disequilibrium, molecular markers, oil crops, quantitative trait loci mapping.

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