High-density linkage mapping of vitamin E content in maize grain

Megan E. Fenton, Brenda F. Owens, Alexander E. Lipka, Darwin Ortiz, Tyler Tiede, Maria Mateos-Hernandez, Mario G. Ferruzzi, Torbert Rocheford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Vitamin E refers to eight distinct compounds collectively known as tocochromanols and can be further divided into two classes, tocotrienols and tocopherols. Tocochromanols are the major lipid-soluble antioxidants in maize (Zea mays L.) grain. Enhancing vitamin E content of maize through plant breeding has important implications for human and animal nutrition. Four inbred lines exhibiting unique variation for tocochromanol compounds were chosen from the Goodman maize diversity panel to construct two biparental mapping populations (N6xNC296 and E2558xCo125). The N6xNC296 population was developed to analyze segregation for α-tocopherol and α-tocotrienol content. The E2558WxCo125 population was developed to analyze segregation for the ratio of total tocotrienols to tocopherols. The tocochromanol variation in two replicates of each population was quantified using liquid chromatography-diode array detection. Using high-density linkage mapping, novel quantitative trait loci (QTL) in the N6xNC296 population were mapped using tocopherol ratio traits. These QTL contain the candidate gene homogentisate phytyltransferase (ZmVTE2) within the respective support intervals. This locus was not mapped in a previous genome-wide association study that analyzed tocochromanols in the Goodman diversity panel. Transgressive segregation was observed for γ- and α-tocochromanols in these populations, which facilitated QTL identification. These QTL and transgressive segregant families can be used in selection programs for vitamin E enhancement in maize. This work illustrates the complementary nature of biparental mapping populations and genome-wide association studies to further characterize genetic variation of tocochromanol content in maize grain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number31
JournalMolecular Breeding
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2018


  • High-density linkage mapping
  • Homogentisate phytyltransferase
  • Tocochromanol
  • Vitamin E

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Biotechnology
  • Plant Science


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