Application of a high-resolution genetic map for chromosome-scale genome assembly and fine QTLs mapping of seed size and weight traits in castor bean
Castor bean (Ricinus communis L., Euphorbiaceae) is a critical biodiesel crop and its seed derivatives have important industrial applications. Due to lack of a high-density genetic map, the breeding and genetic improvement of castor bean has been largely restricted. In this study, based on a recombinant inbred line (RIL) population consisting of 200 individuals, we generated 8,896 high-quality genomic SNP markers and constructed a high-resolution genetic map with 10 linkage groups (LGs), spanning 1,852.33 centiMorgan (cM). Based on the genetic map, 996 scaffolds from the draft reference genome were anchored onto 10 pseudo-chromosomes, covering 84.43% of the castor bean genome. Furthermore, the quality of the pseudo-chromosome scale assembly genome was confirmed via genome collinearity analysis within the castor bean genome as well as between castor bean and cassava. Our results provide new evidence that the phylogenetic position of castor bean is relatively solitary from other taxa in the Euphorbiaceae family. Based on the genetic map, we identified 16 QTLs that control seed size and weight (covering 851 candidate genes). The findings will be helpful for further research into potential new mechanisms controlling seed size and weight in castor bean. The genetic map and improved pseudo-chromosome scale genome provide crucial foundations for marker-assisted selection (MAS) of QTL governing important agronomic traits, as well as the accelerated molecular breeding of castor bean in a cost-effective pattern.