Relative importance of genotype, gene expression, and DNA methylation on complex traits in perennial ryegrass

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The growing demand for food and feed crops in the world because of growing population and more extreme weather events requires high-yielding and resilient crops. Many agriculturally important traits are polygenic, controlled by multiple regulatory layers, and with a strong interaction with the environment. In this study, 120 F2 families of perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) were grown across a water gradient in a semifield facility with subsoil irrigation. Genomic (single-nucleotide polymorphism [SNP]), transcriptomic (gene expression [GE]), and DNA methylomic (MET) data were integrated with feed quality trait data collected from control and drought sections in the semifield facility, providing a treatment effect. Deep root length (DRL) below 110 cm was assessed with convolutional neural network image analysis. Bayesian prediction models were used to partition phenotypic variance into its components and evaluated the proportion of phenotypic variance in all traits captured by different regulatory layers (SNP, GE, and MET). The spatial effects and effects of SNP, GE, MET, the interaction between GE and MET (GE × MET) and GE × treatment (GEControl and GEDrought) interaction were investigated. Gene expression explained a substantial part of the genetic and spatial variance for all the investigated phenotypes, whereas MET explained residual variance not accounted for by SNPs or GE. For DRL, MET also contributed to explaining spatial variance. The study provides a statistically elegant analytical paradigm that integrates genomic, transcriptomic, and MET information to understand the regulatory mechanisms of polygenic effects for complex traits.

TidsskriftPlant Genome
Udgave nummer4
Antal sider17
StatusUdgivet - 2022

Bibliografisk note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank Qiongxian Lu and Maria De la O Leyva Pérez for their help with sampling and the lab technicians at DLF Seeds for obtaining the phenotypic data. This work was supported by Innovation Fund Denmark (grant number 5184‐00035B) and Promilleafgiftsfonden for Landbrug.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors. The Plant Genome published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of Crop Science Society of America.

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