Investigating the link between genetic distance and seed yield in hybrid Brassica napus L. using phenotypic and genotypic methods

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Cattini, Alexander Peter
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Brassica napus L. is an economically important oilseed species cultivated across Western Canada. Hybrid B. napus cultivars compose the majority of the market due to their seed yield and agronomic quality. It is important to attempt to predict high-yielding parental combinations in order to conserve resources during experimental hybrid evaluation. Genetic distance between parents has been implicated in producing high-yielding hybrids and is used as one criteria for determining parental combinations.In the current study, the genetic distance between high erucic acid rapeseed (HEAR) genotypes of B. napus was established using both phenotypic and genotypic criteria. Phenotypic criteria took the form of nine agronomic and seed quality traits gathered from 318 distinct B. napus genotypes over the 2013 and 2014 field seasons in Southern Manitoba. Genotypic criteria took the form of either 291,782 SNP markers identified in 231 distinct B. napus genotypes using genotyping-by-sequencing (GBS) or 230 polymorphic sequence-related amplified polymoprhism (SRAP) markers identified in 160 B. napus genotypes. The genetic distance between available pollinators and a single male-sterile female was established using each set of criteria in an attempt to correlate genetic distance with hybrid yield. Regression analysis was conducted with yield data from hybrid genotypes gathered from 37 field sites from 2011-2014. Using the phenotypic-derived genetic distance, a significant correlation between genetic distance and hybrid yield was uncovered explaining either 22 % or 42 % of the variation in hybrid yield depending upon whether hybrids were grown at three or more, or five or more sites in the analysis, respectively. No significant link was found between GBS or SRAP-derived genetic distance and hybrid yield. These results provide evidence that that phenotypic criteria can be used to establish genetic distance with utility in the selection of high-yielding hybrid genotypes.
Brassica napus, Genotyping-by-sequencing, Heterosis, Phenotypic, Genotypic, Genetic distance, Hybrid Yield, Rapeseed