Improving drought tolerance of crop plants is a major goal of plant breeders. In this study, we characterized biomass and drought-related traits of 220 Medicago truncatulaHapMap accessions. Characterized traits included shoot biomass, maximum leaf size, specific leaf weight, stomatal density, trichome density and shoot carbon-13 isotope discrimination (δ13C) of well-watered M.truncatula plants, and leaf performance in vitro under dehydration stress. Genome-wide association analyses were carried out using the general linear model (GLM), the standard mixed linear model (MLM) and compressed MLM (CMLM) in TASSEL, which revealed significant overestimation of P-values by CMLM. For each trait, candidate genes and chromosome regions containing SNP markers were found that are in significant association with the trait. For plant biomass, a 0.5 Mbp region on chromosome 2 harbouring a plasma membrane intrinsic protein, PIP2, was discovered that could potentially be targeted to increase dry matter yield. A protein disulfide isomerase-like protein was found to be tightly associated with both shoot biomass and leaf size. A glutamate-cysteine ligase and an aldehyde dehydrogenase family protein with Arabidopsis homologs strongly expressed in the guard cells were two of the top genes identified by stomata density genome-wide association studies analysis.
- Compressed mixed linear model
- Medicago truncatula
- Single nucleotide polymorphisms