Grass species from Urochloa genus are excellent perennial forages used in Brazilian pastures to feed livestock. The identification of superior genotypes to use as fodder depends on the selection of many traits under complex genetic control. To make this selection more efficient, the use of molecular tools has been recently employed; however, many genes controlling complex traits remain unknown, as well as their related biological processes. Thus, during the development of our Postdoc project (Fapesp 2018/19219-6) we proposed to compare transcripts from leaves of Urochloa spp. cv. BRS Ipyporã and its parents, aiming at the identification of shared and exclusive genes involved in important traits. In parallel, we hope to understand the molecular basis of heterosis for these complex traits. Now, our main intention will be to assess the genetic architecture of heterotic traits by a genome-wide association study (GWAS) in U. ruziziensis multi-parental family pools and to integrate the results with gene co-expression networks analysis (GCNA). The combination of linkage disequilibrium between coding regions and transcripts data will allow the identification of potential candidate genes and a deeper comprehension of the genetic architecture and biochemical mechanisms in important traits such as leaf biomass. For these analyses, we proposed a collaboration with Dr. Esteban Rios group, which is one of the only teams that is performing molecular breeding and selection at the family level in forage grasses. This project aims to identify trait-associated SNPs by GWAS with functional information derives from gene co-expression networks in Urochloa spp.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: