Haplotype mapping uncovers unexplored variation in wild and domesticated soybean at the major protein locus cqProt-003

Jacob I. Marsh, Haifei Hu, Jakob Petereit, Philipp E. Bayer, Babu Valliyodan, Jacqueline Batley, Henry T. Nguyen, David Edwards

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Key message: The major soy protein QTL, cqProt-003, was analysed for haplotype diversity and global distribution, and results indicate 304 bp deletion and variable tandem repeats in protein coding regions are likely causal candidates. Abstract: Here, we present association and linkage analysis of 985 wild, landrace and cultivar soybean accessions in a pan genomic dataset to characterize the major high-protein/low-oil associated locus cqProt-003 located on chromosome 20. A significant trait-associated region within a 173 kb linkage block was identified, and variants in the region were characterized, identifying 34 high confidence SNPs, 4 insertions, 1 deletion and a larger 304 bp structural variant in the high-protein haplotype. Trinucleotide tandem repeats of variable length present in the second exon of gene Glyma.20G085100 are strongly correlated with the high-protein phenotype and likely represent causal variation. Structural variation has previously been found in the same gene, for which we report the global distribution of the 304 bp deletion and have identified additional nested variation present in high-protein individuals. Mapping variation at the cqProt-003 locus across demographic groups suggests that the high-protein haplotype is common in wild accessions (94.7%), rare in landraces (10.6%) and near absent in cultivated breeding pools (4.1%), suggesting its decrease in frequency primarily correlates with domestication and continued during subsequent improvement. However, the variation that has persisted in under-utilized wild and landrace populations holds high breeding potential for breeders willing to forego seed oil to maximize protein content. The results of this study include the identification of distinct haplotype structures within the high-protein population, and a broad characterization of the genomic context and linkage patterns of cqProt-003 across global populations, supporting future functional characterization and modification.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1443-1455
Number of pages13
JournalTheoretical and Applied Genetics
Issue number4
Early online date9 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022


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