Gene loci in maize influencing susceptibility to chilling dependent photoinhibition of photosynthesis

Carlos Pimentel, Phillip A. Davey, John A. Juvik, Stephen P. Long

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Variation in tolerance in chilling-dependent photoinhibition has been associated with a wide range of traits in comparative physiological studies. A sweet corn (Zea mays L.) population of 214 F2:3 families previously mapped to near-saturation with 93 RFLP DNA markers were subjected to low temperature and high-light events prior to measurement of the maximum dark-adapted quantum efficiency of PS II (F v /F m ), to identify loci associated with variation in chilling-dependent photoinhibition. In the first assay with ten families varying in seedling growth and germination, significant differences were observed among families in their response to and recovery from exposure to high light at low temperature. All the 214 F 2:3 families from this population were then evaluated for tolerance of chilling-dependent photoinhibition in a controlled environment and then in three replicated trials in the field, each following naturally occurring chilling events during spring. The measured effects on F v /F m were analyzed with software that mapped segregating loci that regulate trait expression and linked to genetic markers (PLABQTL). QTL 3.096 (i.e. 96 cM on chromosome three) was consistently identified in both controlled environment and in the mean of the three field trails. Another QTL at 8.025, described the greatest percentage of total phenotypic variance (ca. 10%) for the mean reduction in F v /F m of all three periods of measurement in the field. A third QTL (4.136) showed a highly significant association in the third field trial. These three QTLs were closely associated with genes that have been mechanistically related to photoinhibition tolerance and repair. The results suggest that the ratio of F v /F m is an approach that may be used in establishing marker-assisted breeding for improved tolerance to chilling of maize in the light and in turn better early-season growth in cool temperate climates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)319-326
Number of pages8
JournalPhotosynthesis research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2005


  • Chilling
  • Chlorophyll fluorescence
  • Low temperature
  • PSII
  • Photoinhibition
  • Photosynthesis
  • QTL
  • Zea mays

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Plant Science
  • Cell Biology


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