Genetic mapping of biomass yield in three interconnected Miscanthus populations

Hongxu Dong, Siyao Liu, Lindsay V. Clark, Shailendra Sharma, Justin M. Gifford, John A. Juvik, Alexander E. Lipka, Erik J. Sacks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Improving biomass yield is a major goal of Miscanthus breeding. We conducted a study on one interspecific Miscanthus sinensis × Miscanthus sacchariflorus F1 population and two intraspecific M. sinensis F1 populations, each of which shared a common parent. A field trial was established at Urbana, IL during spring 2011, and phenotypic data were collected in 2012 and 2013 for fourteen yield traits. Six high-density parental genetic maps, as well as a consensus genetic map integrating M. sinensis and M. sacchariflorus, were developed via the pseudotestcross strategy for noninbred parents with ≥1214 single-nucleotide polymorphism markers generated from restriction site-associated DNA sequencing. We confirmed for the first time a whole-genome duplication in M. sacchariflorus relative to Sorghum bicolor, similar to that observed previously for M. sinensis. Four quantitative trait locus (QTL) analysis methods for detecting marker-trait associations were compared: (1) individual parental map composite interval mapping analysis, (2) individual parental map stepwise analysis, (3) consensus map single-population stepwise analysis and (4) consensus map joint-population stepwise analysis. These four methods detected 288, 264, 133 and 109 total QTLs, which resolved into 157, 136, 106 and 86 meta-QTLs based on QTL congruency, respectively, including a set of 59 meta-QTLs common to all four analysis methods. Composite interval mapping and stepwise analysis co-identified 118 meta-QTLs across six parental maps, suggesting high reliability of stepwise regression in QTL detection. Joint-population stepwise analysis yielded the highest resolution of QTLs compared to the other three methods across all meta-QTLs. Strong, frequently advantageous transgressive segregation in the three populations indicated a promising future for breeding new higher-yielding cultivars of Miscanthus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)165-185
Number of pages21
JournalGCB Bioenergy
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2018


  • QTL mapping
  • bioenergy
  • biomass
  • interconnected-population
  • restriction site-associated DNA sequencing
  • single-nucleotide polymorphism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Waste Management and Disposal


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