Quantitative Trait Loci and Candidate Genes Associated with Photoperiod Sensitivity in Lettuce (Lactuca spp.)

Rongkui Han, Dean Lavelle, Maria José Truco, Richard Michelmore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Key message: A population of lettuce that segregated for photoperiod sensitivity was planted under long-day and short-day conditions. Genetic mapping revealed two distinct sets of QTLs controlling daylength-independent and photoperiod-sensitive flowering time. Abstract: The molecular mechanism of flowering time regulation in lettuce is of interest to both geneticists and breeders because of the extensive impact of this trait on agricultural production. Lettuce is a facultative long-day plant which changes in flowering time in response to photoperiod. Variations exist in both flowering time and the degree of photoperiod sensitivity among accessions of wild (Lactuca serriola) and cultivated (L. sativa) lettuce. An F6 population of 236 recombinant inbred lines (RILs) was previously developed from a cross between a late-flowering, photoperiod-sensitive L. serriola accession and an early-flowering, photoperiod-insensitive L. sativa accession. This population was planted under long-day (LD) and short-day (SD) conditions in a total of four field and screenhouse trials; the developmental phenotype was scored weekly in each trial. Using genotyping-by-sequencing (GBS) data of the RILs, quantitative trait loci (QTL) mapping revealed five flowering time QTLs that together explained more than 20% of the variation in flowering time under LD conditions. Using two independent statistical models to extract the photoperiod sensitivity phenotype from the LD and SD flowering time data, we identified an additional five QTLs that together explained more than 30% of the variation in photoperiod sensitivity in the population. Orthology and sequence analysis of genes within the nine QTLs revealed potential functional equivalents in the lettuce genome to the key regulators of flowering time and photoperiodism, FD and CONSTANS, respectively, in Arabidopsis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3473-3487
Number of pages15
JournalTheoretical and Applied Genetics
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Genetics


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