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Identifying Vitamin E Biosynthesis Genes in Elaeis guineensis by Genome-Wide Association Study

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posted on 03.01.2020, 22:21 by Tingting Luo, Wei Xia, Shufang Gong, Annaliese S. Mason, Zhiying Li, Rui Liu, Yajing Dou, Wenqi Tang, Haikuo Fan, Chunyu Zhang, Yong Xiao
Elaeis guineensis is a tropical oil crop and has the highest oil yield per unit area. Palm oil has high palmitic acid content and is also rich in vitamins, including vitamin E. We conducted genome-wide association studies in a diversity panel of 161 E. guineensis accessions to identify single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) linked with vitamin E and validated candidate genes in these marker-associated intervals. Based on the SNPs reported in our previous research, 47 SNP markers were detected to be significantly associated with the variation of tocopherol and tocotrienol content at a cutoff P value of 6.3 × 10–7. A total of 656 candidate genes in the flanking regions of the 47 SNPs were identified, followed by pathway enrichment analysis. Of these candidate genes, EgHGGT (homogentisate geranylgeranyl transferase) involved in the biosynthesis of tocotrienols had a higher expression level in the mesocarp compared to other tissues. Expression of the EgHGGT gene was positively correlated with the variation in α-tocotrienol content. Induced overexpression of the gene in Arabidopsis caused a significant increase in vitamin E content and production of α-tocotrienols compared to wild Arabidopsis.