Genetic variability for kernel B-carotene and utilization of crtRB1 3’TE gene for biofortification in maize (Zea mays L.)

Posted by Carelia Juarez on , in Journal Articles

Published in Indian Journal of Genetics and Plant Breeding 72 (2) : 189-194, 2012

M.  Vignesh, Hossain Firoz, T. Nepolean, Saha Supradip, P.K. Agrawal, S.K. Guleria, B.M. Prasanna and H.S. Gupta

Carotenoids are the major sources of dietary precursor of vitamin A and act as potential antioxidant besides preventing diseases such as night blindness in humans. Vitamin A deficiency is a global problem, but is particularly prevalent in developing countries like India, where 31 percent of pre-school children are reportedly affected. Evaluation of genetic variability for kernel β-carotene in 105 maize inbreds of diverse pedigree from India- and CIMMYT-origin revealed significant variation ranging from 0.02 to 16.50 μg/g. One of the key reasons for wide variation of kernel β-carotene is due to the allelic variation at crtRB1 3’TE gene. Five among 95 inbreds possessed the favourable crtRB1 3’TE allele with a mean β-carotene concentration of 0.86 μg/g. In contrast, the same allele detected in 20 CIMMYT-Maize HarvestPlus genotypes contributed a mean kernel-carotene concentration of 11.29 μg/g. The contrast in β-carotene concentration in Indian and CIMMYT genotypes could be attributed to the presence of SNPs and InDels in crtRB1 3’TE locus, along with the presence/absence of favourable alleles of other important genes influencing the carotenoid biosynthetic pathway. Marker-assisted breeding has been initiated, to introgress the crtRB1 3’TE favourable allele using high carotene CIMMYT inbreds as donors, to develop provitamin A-rich maize cultivars suitable for maize growing regions in India.


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