Genome-wide association study identifies three key loci for high mesocarp oil content in perennial crop oil palm.

Research paper by Chee-Keng CK Teh, Ai-Ling AL Ong, Qi-Bin QB Kwong, Sukganah S Apparow, Fook-Tim FT Chew, Sean S Mayes, Mohaimi M Mohamed, David D Appleton, Harikrishna H Kulaveerasingam

Indexed on: 09 Jan '16Published on: 09 Jan '16Published in: Scientific Reports


GWAS in out-crossing perennial crops is typically limited by insufficient marker density to account for population diversity and effects of population structure resulting in high false positive rates. The perennial crop oil palm is the most productive oil crop. We performed GWAS for oil-to-dry-mesocarp content (O/DM) on 2,045 genotyped tenera palms using 200K SNPs that were selected based on the short-range linkage disequilibrium distance, which is inherent with long breeding cycles and heterogeneous breeding populations. Eighty loci were significantly associated with O/DM (p ≤ 10(-4)) and three key signals were found. We then evaluated the progeny of a Deli x AVROS breeding trial and a 4% higher O/DM was observed amongst those having the beneficial genotypes at two of the three key loci (p < 0.05). We have initiated MAS and large-scale planting of elite dura and pisifera parents to generate the new commercial tenera palms with higher O/DM potential.