Multi-locus genome-wide association studies reveal genomic regions and putative candidate genes associated with leaf spot diseases in African groundnut (Arachis hypogaea L.) germplasm


Early leaf spot (ELS) and late leaf spot (LLS) diseases are the two most destructive groundnut diseases in Ghana resulting in <= 70% yield losses which is controlled largely by chemical method. To develop leaf spot resistant varieties, the present study was undertaken to identify single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers and putative candidate genes underlying both ELS and LLS. In this study, six multi-locus models of genome-wide association study were conducted with the best linear unbiased predictor obtained from 294 African groundnut germplasm screened for ELS and LLS as well as image-based indices of leaf spot diseases severity in 2020 and 2021 and 8,772 high-quality SNPs from a 48 K SNP array Axiom platform. Ninety-seven SNPs associated with ELS, LLS and five image-based indices across the chromosomes in the 2 two sub-genomes. From these, twenty-nine unique SNPs were detected by at least two models for one or more traits across 16 chromosomes with explained phenotypic variation ranging from 0.01 - 62.76%, with exception of chromosome (Chr) 08 (Chr08), Chr10, Chr11, and Chr19. Seventeen potential candidate genes were predicted at +/- 300 kbp of the stable/prominent SNP positions (12 and 5, down- and upstream, respectively). The results from this study provide a basis for understanding the genetic architecture of ELS and LLS diseases in African groundnut germplasm, and the associated SNPs and predicted candidate genes would be valuable for breeding leaf spot diseases resistant varieties upon further validation.



candidate genes, environmentally friendly, genomics, markerassisted selection, oilseed, early leaf spot, late leaf spot