Targeted association mapping demonstrating the complex molecular genetics of fatty acid formation in soybean

Ying hui Li, Jochen C. Reif, Yan song Ma, Hui long Hong, Zhang xiong Liu, Ru zhen Chang, Li juan Qiu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The relative abundance of five dominant fatty acids (FAs) (palmitic, stearic, oleic, linoleic and linolenic acids) is a major factor determining seed quality in soybean. Methods: To clarify the currently poorly understood genetic architecture of FAs in soybean, targeted association analysis was conducted in 421 diverse accessions phenotyped in three environments and genotyped using 1536 pre-selected SNPs. Results: The population of 421 soybean accessions displayed significant genetic variation for each FA. Analysis of the molecular data revealed three subpopulations, which reflected a trend depending on latitude of cultivation. A total of 37 significant (p < 0.01) associations with FAs were identified by association mapping analysis. These associations were represented by 33 SNPs (occurring in 32 annotated genes); another four SNPs had a significant association with two different FAs due to pleiotropic interactions. The most significant associations were cross-verified by known genes/QTL or consistency across cultivation year and subpopulations. Conclusion: The detected marker-trait associations represent a first important step towards the implementation of molecular-marker-based selection of FA composition with the potential to substantially improve the seed quality of soybean with benefits for human health and for food processing.

Original languageEnglish
Article number841
JournalBMC Genomics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Li et al.


  • Cultivated soybean
  • Fatty acid modifier
  • Favorable alleles
  • LD-mapping
  • SNP

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Genetics


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