Selenium is essential for many organisms, but is toxic at higher levels. To investigate the genetic basis of selenate tolerance in Arabidopsis thaliana, quantitative trait loci (QTL) associated with selenate tolerance in accessions Landsberg erecta and Columbia were mapped using recombinant inbred lines (RILs). The selenate tolerance index (TI(D10) = root growth + 30 microm selenate/root growth control x 100%) was fourfold higher for parental line Col-4 (59%) than for parent Ler-0 (15%). Among the 96 F8 RILs, TI(D10) ranged from 11 to 75% (mean 37%). Using composite interval mapping, three QTL were found on chromosomes 1, 3 and 5, which together explained 24% of variation in TI(D10) and 32% of the phenotypic variation for the difference in root length +/- Se (RL(D10)). Highly significant epistatic interactions between the QTL and markers on chromosome 2 explained additional variation for both traits. Potential candidate genes for Se tolerance in each of the QTL regions are discussed. These results offer insight into the genetic basis of selenate tolerance, and may be useful for identification of selenate-tolerance genes.
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