Article ID: 18090
Purple corn is a maize variety (Zea mays L.) with high anthocyanin content. When purple corn is used as forage, its anthocyanins may mitigate oxidative stresses causing lower milk production in dairy cows. In this study, we analyzed quantitative trait loci (QTLs) for anthocyanin pigmentation of maize organs in an F2 population derived from a cross between the Peruvian cultivar ‘JC072A’ (purple) and the inbred line ‘Ki68’ (yellowish) belonged to Japanese flint. We detected 17 significant QTLs on chromosomes 1–3, 6, and 10. Because the cob accounts for most of the fresh weight of the plant ear, we focused on a significant QTL for purple cob on chromosome 6. This QTL also conferred pigmentation of anther, spikelet, leaf sheath, culm, and bract leaf, and was confirmed by using two F3 populations. The gene Pl1 (purple plant 1) is the most likely candidate gene in this QTL region because the amino acid sequence encoded by Pl1-JC072A is similar to that of an Andean allele, Pl-bol3, which is responsible for anthocyanin production. The markers designed for the Pl1 alleles will be useful for the breeding of F1 lines with anthocyanin pigmentation in cobs.