QTL involved in the partial restoration of male fertility of C-type cytoplasmic male sterility in maize
Partial restoration of male fertility limits the use of C-type cytoplasmic male sterility (C-CMS) for the production of hybrid seeds in maize. Nevertheless, the genetic basis of the trait is still unknown. Therefore, the aim to this study was to identify genomic regions that govern partial restoration by means of a QTL analysis carried out in an F 2 population (n = 180). This population was derived from the Corn Belt inbred lines B37C and K55. F 2 BC 1 progenies were phenotyped at three
... s in Switzerland. Male fertility was rated according to the quality and number of anthers as well as the anthesis-silking interval. A weak effect of environment on the expression of partial restoration was reflected by high heritabilities of all fertility-related traits. Partial restoration was inherited like an oligogenic trait. Three major QTL regions were found consistently across environments in the chromosomal bins 2.09, 3.06 and 7.03. Therefore, a marker-assisted counter-selection of partial restoration is promising. Minor QTL regions were found on chromosomes 3, 4, 5, 6 and 8. A combination of partial restorer alleles at different QTL can lead to full restoration of fertility. The maternal parent was clearly involved in the partial restoration, because the restorer alleles at QTL in bins 2.09, 6.04 and 7.03 originated from B37. The three major QTL regions collocated with other restorer genes of maize, a phenomenon, which seems to be typical for restorer genes. Therefore, a study of the clusters of restorer genes in maize could lead to a better understanding of their evolution and function. In this respect, the long arm of chromosome 2 is particularly interesting, because it harbors restorer genes for the three major CMS systems (C, T and S) of maize. Communicated by R. Johnson.