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Classical and Molecular Genetics of the Model Legume Lotus japonicus

January 1997 , Volume 10 , Number  1
Pages  59 - 68

Qunyi Jiang and Peter M. Gresshoff

Plant Molecular Genetics and Center for Legume Research, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37901-1071 U.S.A.

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Accepted 21 October 1996.

The model legume Lotus japonicus was demonstrated to be amenable to classical and molecular genetic analysis, providing the basis for the genetic dissection of the plant processes underlying nodulation and nitrogen fixation. We have developed an efficient method for the sexual hybridization of L. japonicus and obtained F1 progeny derived from a cross of L. japonicus B-129-S9 Gifu × B-581 Funakura. Over half of the cross-pollinations resulted in fertile hybrid seed, which were confirmed morphologically and by single arbitrary primer DNA amplification polymorphisms using the DAF technique. Molecular and morphological markers segregated in true Mendelian fashion in a F2 population of 100 plants. Several DAF loci were linked using the MAPMAKER software to create the first molecular linkage groups of this model legume. The mapping population was advanced to generate a set of immortal recombinant inbred lines (F6; RILs), useful for sharing plant material fixed genetically at most genomic regions. Morphological loci for waved stem shape (Ssh), dark leaf color (Lco), and short flowering period (Fpe) were inherited as single dominant Mendelian loci. DAF markers were dominant and were detected between Gifu and Funakura at about one per primer, suggesting that the parents are closely related. One polymorphism (270G generated by single octomer primer 8.6m) was linked to a morphological locus controlling leaf coloration. The results demonstrate that (i) Lotus japonicus is amenable to diploid genetic analysis, (ii) morphological and molecular markers segregate in true diploid fashion, (iii) molecular polymorphisms can be obtained at a reasonable frequency between the related Gifu and Funakura lines, and iv) the possibility exists for map-based cloning, marker assisted selection and mapping of symbiotic mutations through a genetic and molecular map.

Additional keywords: morphological markers, genome analysis, symbiosis, nitrogen fixation, linkage map, recombinant inbred lines.

© 1997 The American Phytopathological Society