The interest in antioxidant compound breeding in maize (Zea mays L.), a major food crop, has increased in recent years. However, breeding of antioxidant compounds in maize can be hampered, given the complex genetic nature of these compounds. In this work, we followed a genome-wide association approach, using a unique germplasm collection (containing Portuguese germplasm), to study the genetic basis of several antioxidants in maize. Sixty-seven genomic regions associated with seven antioxidant compounds and two color-related traits were identified. Several significant associations were located within or near genes involved in the carotenoid (Zm00001d036345) and tocopherol biosynthetic pathways (Zm00001d017746). Some indications of a negative selection against α-tocopherol levels were detected in the Portuguese maize germplasm. The strongest single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP)-trait associations and the SNP alleles with larger effect sizes were pinpointed and set as priority for future validation studies; these associations detected now constitute a benchmark for developing molecular selection tools for antioxidant compound selection in maize.
- phenolic compounds
- quantitative trait loci