Genome-wide association study for kernel composition and flour pasting behavior in wholemeal maize flour

Mara Lisa Alves, Bruna Carbas, Daniel Gaspar, Manuel Paulo, Cláudia Brites, Pedro Mendes-Moreira, Carla Moita Brites, Marcos Malosetti, Fred Van Eeuwijk, Maria Carlota Vaz Patto

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17 Citations (Scopus)
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Background: Maize is a crop in high demand for food purposes and consumers worldwide are increasingly concerned with food quality. However, breeding for improved quality is a complex task and therefore developing tools to select for better quality products is of great importance. Kernel composition, flour pasting behavior, and flour particle size have been previously identified as crucial for maize-based food quality. In this work we carried out a genome-wide association study to identify genomic regions controlling compositional and pasting properties of maize wholemeal flour. Results: A collection of 132 diverse inbred lines, with a considerable representation of the food used Portuguese unique germplasm, was trialed during two seasons, and harvested samples characterized for main compositional traits, flour pasting parameters and mean particle size. The collection was genotyped with the MaizeSNP50 array. SNP-trait associations were tested using a mixed linear model accounting for genetic relatedness. Fifty-seven genomic regions were identified, associated with the 11 different quality-related traits evaluated. Regions controlling multiple traits were detected and potential candidate genes identified. As an example, for two viscosity parameters that reflect the capacity of the starch to absorb water and swell, the strongest common associated region was located near the dull endosperm 1 gene that encodes a starch synthase and is determinant on the starch endosperm structure in maize. Conclusions: This study allowed for identifying relevant regions on the maize genome affecting maize kernel composition and flour pasting behavior, candidate genes for the majority of the quality-associated genomic regions, or the most promising target regions to develop molecular tools to increase efficacy and efficiency of quality traits selection (such as "breadability") within maize breeding programs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number123
JournalBMC Plant Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Apr 2019


  • Bread
  • Candidate genes
  • Nutritional quality
  • Pasting behavior
  • Plant breeding
  • Portuguese maize germplasm
  • Zea mays L.


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