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The genomics of linkage drag in sunflower

bioRxiv 2022
Huang K, et al

Kaichi Huang, Mojtaba Jahani, Jérôme Gouzy, Alexandra Legendre, Sebastien Carrere, José Miguel Lázaro-Guevara, Eric Gerardo González Segovia, Marco Todesco, Baptiste Mayjonade, Nathalie Rodde, Stéphane Cauet, Isabelle Dufau, S Evan Staton, Nicolas Pouilly, Marie-Claude Boniface, Camille Tapy, Brigitte Mangin, Alexandra Duhnen, Véronique Gautier, Charles Poncet, Cécile Donnadieu, Tali Mandel, Sariel Hübner, John M. Burke, Sonia Vautrin, Arnaud Bellec, Gregory L. Owens, Nicolas Langlade, Stéphane Muños, Loren H. Rieseberg

Crop wild relatives represent valuable sources of alleles for crop improvement, including adaptation to climate change and emerging diseases. However, introgressions from wild relatives might have deleterious effects on desirable traits, including yield, due to linkage drag. Here we comprehensively analyzed the genomic and phenotypic impacts of wild introgressions into cultivated sunflower to estimate the impacts of linkage drag. First, we generated new reference sequences for seven cultivated and one wild sunflower genotype, as well as improved assemblies for two additional cultivars. Next, relying on previously generated sequences from wild donor species, we identified introgressions in the cultivated reference sequences, as well as the sequence and structural variants they contain. We then used a ridge regression model to test the effects of the introgressions on phenotypic traits in the cultivated sunflower association mapping population. We found that introgression has introduced substantial sequence and structural variation into the cultivated sunflower gene pool, including > 3,000 new genes. While introgressions reduced genetic load at protein-coding sequences and positively affected traits associated with abiotic stress resistance, they mostly had negative impacts on yield and quality traits. Introgressions found at high frequency in the cultivated gene pool had larger effects than low frequency introgressions, suggesting that the former likely were targeted by artificial selection. Also, introgressions from more distantly related species were more likely to be maladaptive than those from the wild progenitor of cultivated sunflower. Thus, pre-breeding efforts should focus, as far as possible, on closely related and fully compatible wild relatives.

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