Dengfeng Zhang

Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Peping, Beijing, China

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Publications (7)26.58 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Both insufficient and excessive male inflorescence size leads to a reduction in maize yield. Knowledge of the genetic architecture of male inflorescence is essential to achieve the optimum inflorescence size for maize breeding. In this study, we used approximately eight thousand inbreds, including both linkage populations and association populations, to dissect the genetic architecture of male inflorescence. The linkage populations include 25 families developed in the U.S. and 11 families developed in China. Each family contains approximately 200 recombinant inbred lines (RILs). The association populations include approximately 1000 diverse lines from the U.S. and China. All inbreds were genotyped by either sequencing or microarray. Inflorescence size was measured as the tassel primary branch number (TBN) and tassel length (TL). A total of 125 quantitative trait loci (QTLs) were identified (63 for TBN, 62 for TL) through linkage analyses. In addition, 965 quantitative trait nucleotides (QTNs) were identified through genomewide study (GWAS) at a bootstrap posterior probability (BPP) above a 5% threshold. These QTLs/QTNs include 24 known genes that were cloned using mutants, for example Ramosa3 (ra3), Thick tassel dwarf1 (td1), tasselseed2 (ts2), liguleless2 (lg2), ramosa1 (ra1), barren stalk1 (ba1), branch silkless1 (bd1) and tasselseed6 (ts6). The newly identified genes encode a zinc transporter (e.g. GRMZM5G838098 and GRMZM2G047762), the adapt in terminal region protein (e.g. GRMZM5G885628), O-methyl-transferase (e.g. GRMZM2G147491), helix-loop-helix (HLH) DNA-binding proteins (e.g. GRMZM2G414252 and GRMZM2G042895) and an SBP-box protein (e.g. GRMZM2G058588). These results provide extensive genetic information to dissect the genetic architecture of inflorescence size for the improvement of maize yield.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2016 · Plant Biotechnology Journal
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    ABSTRACT: Kernel length (KL) is one of the key traits related to kernel size in maize, but the underlying genetic mechanisms remain vague. The qKL1.07 locus, located in the long arm of Chromosome 1, has been identified frequently as a major QTL for KL. In the present study, using Mo17 as the donor parent and HZS the recurrent parent, we developed a series of backcross populations, including BC3F2, BC3F3 and BC3F4, to fine map qKL1.07. The results indicated that the region of qKL1.07 could be narrowed down to a 1.6 Mb interval flanked by two markers: ML194 and ML162. Furthermore, we performed the regional association analysis using a panel of 627 diverse inbred lines and four significant SNPs were detected to associate with the target trait within the interval of qKL1.07. When the results of the linkage mapping and association analysis were combined, the ZmCKX10 gene, encoding cytokinin oxidase, was supposed to be the candidate gene that is most likely responsible for qKL1.07.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2016 · Molecular Breeding
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    ABSTRACT: Head smut, caused by the fungus Sphacelotheca reiliana (Kühn) Clint, is a devastating threat to maize production. In this study, QTL mapping of head smut resistance was performed using a recombinant inbred line (RIL) population from a cross between a resistant line “QI319” and a susceptible line “Huangzaosi” (HZS) with a genetic map constructed from genotyping-by-sequencing (GBS) data and composed of 1638 bin markers. Two head smut resistance QTL were identified, located on Chromosome 2 (q2.09HR) and Chromosome 5 (q5.03HR), q2.09HR is co-localized with a previously reported QTL for head smut resistance, and the effect of q5.03HR has been validated in backcross populations. It was also observed that pyramiding the resistant alleles of both QTL enhanced the level of resistance to head smut. A genome-wide association study (GWAS) using 277 diverse inbred lines was processed to validate the mapped QTL and to identify additional head smut resistance associations. A total of 58 associated SNPs were detected, which were distributed in 31 independent regions. SNPs with significant association to head smut resistance were detected within the q2.09HR and q5.03HR regions, confirming the linkage mapping results. It was also observed that both additive and epistastic effects determine the genetic architecture of head smut resistance in maize. As shown in this study, the combined strategy of linkage mapping and association analysis is a powerful approach in QTL dissection for disease resistance in maize.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2015 · PLoS ONE
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    ABSTRACT: Background: A genome-wide association study (GWAS) is the foremost strategy used for finding genes that control human diseases and agriculturally important traits, but it often reports false positives. In contrast, its complementary method, linkage analysis, provides direct genetic confirmation, but with limited resolution. A joint approach, using multiple linkage populations, dramatically improves resolution and statistical power. For example, this approach has been used to confirm that many complex traits, such as flowering time controlling adaptation in maize, are controlled by multiple genes with small effects. In addition, genotyping by sequencing (GBS) at low coverage not only produces genotyping errors, but also results in large datasets, making the use of high-throughput sequencing technologies computationally inefficient or unfeasible. Results: In this study, we converted raw SNPs into effective recombination bins. The reduced bins not only retain the original information, but also correct sequencing errors from low-coverage genomic sequencing. To further increase the statistical power and resolution, we merged a new temperate maize nested association mapping (NAM) population derived in China (CN-NAM) with the existing maize NAM population developed in the US (US-NAM). Together, the two populations contain 36 families and 7,000 recombinant inbred lines (RILs). One million SNPs were generated for all the RILs with GBS at low coverage. We developed high-quality recombination maps for each NAM population to correct genotyping errors and improve the computational efficiency of the joint linkage analysis. The original one million SNPs were reduced to 4,932 and 5,296 recombination bins with average interval distances of 0.34 cM and 0.28 cM for CN-NAM and US-NAM, respectively. The quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping for flowering time (days to tasseling) indicated that the high-density, recombination bin map improved resolution of QTL mapping by 50 % compared with that using a medium-density map. We also demonstrated that combining the CN-NAM and US-NAM populations improves the power to detect QTL by 50 % compared to single NAM population mapping. Among the QTLs mapped by joint usage of the US-NAM and CN-NAM maps, 25 % of the QTLs overlapped with known flowering-time genes in maize. Conclusion: This study provides directions and resources for the research community, especially maize researchers, for future studies using the recombination bin strategy for joint linkage analysis. Available resources include efficient usage of low-coverage genomic sequencing, detailed positions for genes controlling maize flowering, and recombination bin maps and flowering- time data for both CN and US NAMs. Maize researchers even have the opportunity to grow both CN and US NAM populations to study the traits of their interest, as the seeds of both NAM populations are available from the seed repository in China and the US.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2015 · BMC Biology
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    ABSTRACT: Plant architecture is a key factor for high productivity maize because ideal plant architecture with an erect leaf angle and optimum leaf orientation value allow for more efficient light capture during photosynthesis and better wind circulation under dense planting conditions. To extend our understanding of the genetic mechanisms involved in leaf-related traits, three connected recombination inbred line (RIL) populations including 538 RILs were genotyped by genotyping-by-sequencing (GBS) method and phenotyped for the leaf angle and related traits in six environments. We conducted single population quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping and joint linkage analysis based on high-density recombination bin maps constructed from GBS genotype data. A total of 45 QTLs with phenotypic effects ranging from 1.2% to 29.2% were detected for four leaf architecture traits by using joint linkage mapping across the three populations. All the QTLs identified for each trait could explain approximately 60% of the phenotypic variance. Four QTLs were located on small genomic regions where candidate genes were found. Genomic predictions from a genomic best linear unbiased prediction (GBLUP) model explained 45±9% to 68±8% of the variation in the remaining RILs for the four traits. These results extend our understanding of the genetics of leaf traits and can be used in genomic prediction to accelerate plant architecture improvement.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2015 · PLoS ONE
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    ABSTRACT: We compared the grain quality of Chinese single- cross maize (Zea mays L.) initially released during the 1960s to 2000s, their parental inbreds, and a set of U.S. hybrids released during the 1960s and 2000s. Chinese hybrids showed lower starch concentrations and higher oil and protein concentrations compared with U.S. hybrids. Chinese hybrids showed a decadal increase of 0.81% in starch concentration, whereas U.S. hybrids showed an increase of 0.57%. Grain quality concentrations of Chinese hybrids exhibited more significant interactions with either planting density or with planting density × environment than did U.S. hybrids. Concentrations of oil, protein, and lysine decreased for Chinese hybrids, which coincided with the introduction and extensive use in China of U.S. maize germplasm during the 1970s and 1980s. Chinese hybrids released during the 1990s had similar kernel compositions to the U.S. hybrids. The kernel quality composition of Chinese hybrids and their mean parent values showed very similar trends during the 1960s to 2000s. Selection for high grain quality parental inbred lines in addition to selection for yield per se will be required if it is deemed important to elevate the grain quality attributes of Chinese maize hybrids.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2015 · Crop Science
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    ABSTRACT: MADS-box genes encode a family of transcription factors, which control diverse developmental processes in flowering plants, with organs ranging from roots, flowers and fruits. In this study, six maize cDNAs encoding MADS-box proteins were isolated. BLASTX searches and phylogenetic analysis indicated that the six MADS-box genes belonging to the AGL2-like clade. qRT-PCR analysis revealed that these genes had differential expression patterns in different organs in maize. The results of yeast one-hybrid system indicated that the protein ZMM3-1, ZMM3-2, ZMM6, ZMM7-L, ZMM8-L and ZMM14-L had transcriptional activation activity. Subcellular localization of ZMM7-L demonstrated that the fluorescence of ZMM7-L-GFP was mainly detected in the nuclei of onion epidermal cells. qRT-PCR analysis for expression pattern of ZMM7-L showed that the gene was up-regulated by abiotic stresses and down-regulated by exogenous ABA. The germination rates of over-expression transgenic lines were lower than that of the wild type on medium with 150 mM NaCl, 350 mM mannitol. These results indicated that ZMM7-L might be a negative transcription factor responsive to abiotic stresses.
    No preview · Article · Mar 2012 · Journal of plant physiology

Publication Stats

10 Citations
26.58 Total Impact Points


  • 2012-2015
    • Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences
      • Institute of Crop Sciences
      Peping, Beijing, China