Background: Unrevealing the genetic makeup of crop morpho-agronomic traits is essential for improving yield quality and sustainability. Sesame (Sesamum indicum L.) is one of the oldest oil-crops in the world. Despite its economic and agricultural importance, it is an ‘orphan crop-plant’ that has undergone limited modern selection, and, as a consequence preserved wide genetic diversity. Here we established a new sesame panel (SCHUJI) that contains 184 genotypes representing wide phenotypic variation and is geographically distributed. We harnessed the natural variation of this panel to perform genome-wide association studies for morpho-agronomic traits under the Mediterranean climate conditions. Results: Field-based phenotyping of the SCHUJI panel across two seasons exposed wide phenotypic variation for all traits. Using 20,294 single-nucleotide polymorphism markers, we detected 50 genomic signals associated with these traits. Major genomic region on LG2 was associated with flowering date and yield-related traits, exemplified the key role of the flowering date on productivity. Conclusions: Our results shed light on the genetic architecture of flowering date and its interaction with yield components in sesame and may serve as a basis for future sesame breeding programs in the Mediterranean basin.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).
- Flowering date
- Yield components