Genome-wide association analysis of sucrose and alanine contents in edamame beans
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The sucrose and Alanine (Ala) content in edamame beans significantly impacts the sweetness flavor of edamame-derived products as an important attribute to consumers' acceptance. Unlike grain-type soybeans, edamame beans are harvested as fresh beans at the R6 to R7 growth stages when beans are filled 80-90% of the pod capacity. The genetic basis of sucrose and Ala contents in fresh edamame beans may differ from those in dry seeds. To date, there is no report on the genetic basis of sucrose and Ala contents in the edamame beans. In this study, a genome-wide association study was conducted to identify single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) related to sucrose and Ala levels in edamame beans using an association mapping panel of 189 edamame accessions genotyped with a SoySNP50K BeadChip. A total of 43 and 25 SNPs was associated with sucrose content and Ala content in the edamame beans, respectively. Four genes (Glyma.10g270800, Glyma.08g137500, Glyma.10g268500, and Glyma.18g193600) with known effects on the process of sucrose biosynthesis and 37 novel sucrose-related genes were characterized. Three genes (Gm17g070500, Glyma.14g201100 and Glyma.18g269600) with likely relevant effects in regulating Ala content and 22 novel Ala-related genes were identified. In addition, by summarizing the phenotypic data of edamame beans from three locations in two years, three PI accessions (PI 532469, PI 243551, and PI 407748) were selected as the high sucrose and high Ala parental lines for the perspective breeding of sweet edamame varieties. Thus, the beneficial alleles, candidate genes, and selected PI accessions identified in this study will be fundamental to develop edamame varieties with improved consumers' acceptance, and eventually promote edamame production as a specialty crop in the United States.