Nucleotide Polymorphisms and Haplotype Diversity of RTCS Gene in China Elite Maize Inbred Lines

PLOS ONE, Feb 2013

The maize RTCS gene, encoding a LOB domain transcription factor, plays important roles in the initiation of embryonic seminal and postembryonic shoot-borne root. In this study, the genomic sequences of this gene in 73 China elite inbred lines, including 63 lines from 5 temperate heteroric groups and 10 tropic germplasms, were obtained, and the nucleotide polymorphisms and haplotype diversity were detected. A total of 63 sequence variants, including 44 SNPs and 19 indels, were identified at this locus, and most of them were found to be located in the regions of UTR and intron. The coding region of this gene in all tested inbred lines carried 14 haplotypes, which encoding 7 deferring RTCS proteins. Analysis of the polymorphism sites revealed that at least 6 recombination events have occurred. Among all 6 groups tested, only the P heterotic group had a much lower nucleotide diversity than the whole set, and selection analysis also revealed that only this group was under strong negative selection. However, the set of Huangzaosi and its derived lines possessed a higher nucleotide diversity than the whole set, and no selection signal were identified.

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Nucleotide Polymorphisms and Haplotype Diversity of RTCS Gene in China Elite Maize Inbred Lines

et al. (2013) Nucleotide Polymorphisms and Haplotype Diversity of RTCS Gene in China Elite Maize Inbred Lines. PLoS ONE 8(2): e56495. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0056495 Nucleotide Polymorphisms and Haplotype Diversity of RTCS Gene in China Elite Maize Inbred Lines Enying Zhang 0 Zefeng Yang 0 Yifan Wang 0 Yunyun Hu 0 Xiyun Song 0 Chenwu Xu 0 Gregory Tranah, San Francisco Coordinating Center, United States of America 0 1 Key Laboratory of Crop Genetics and Physiology of Jiangsu Province, Key Laboratory of Plant Functional Genomics of the Ministry of Education, College of Agriculture, Yangzhou University , Yangzhou , China , 2 College of Agronomy and Plant Protection, Qingdao Agricultural University , Qingdao , China The maize RTCS gene, encoding a LOB domain transcription factor, plays important roles in the initiation of embryonic seminal and postembryonic shoot-borne root. In this study, the genomic sequences of this gene in 73 China elite inbred lines, including 63 lines from 5 temperate heteroric groups and 10 tropic germplasms, were obtained, and the nucleotide polymorphisms and haplotype diversity were detected. A total of 63 sequence variants, including 44 SNPs and 19 indels, were identified at this locus, and most of them were found to be located in the regions of UTR and intron. The coding region of this gene in all tested inbred lines carried 14 haplotypes, which encoding 7 deferring RTCS proteins. Analysis of the polymorphism sites revealed that at least 6 recombination events have occurred. Among all 6 groups tested, only the P heterotic group had a much lower nucleotide diversity than the whole set, and selection analysis also revealed that only this group was under strong negative selection. However, the set of Huangzaosi and its derived lines possessed a higher nucleotide diversity than the whole set, and no selection signal were identified. - . These authors contributed equally to this work. Introduction In the past, fundamental researches on increasing shoot biomass and seed yield attracted most attentions of the crop scientists, and the relevance of the root system for food production has often been overlooked [1,2]. However, a healthy and well-developed root stock architecture is especially important for the developing of plant, because it is the organ absorbing water and inorganic nutrients, in addition to anchoring of the plant body to the ground [1,3]. Maize (Zea mays L.), one of the most widely grown grain crop in the world, possesses a unique and complex root stock architecture composed of embryonic and postembryonic roots [4,5]. The embryonic roots, defined by the primary root and a variable number of seminal roots, play important roles for early vigor of the maize seedlings. However, at the postembryonic stage, shoot-borne system forms the major backbone of the adult stock [6]. Recently, several genes controlling the development of maize shoot-borne roots, lateral roots, and root hairs have been isolated [7,8,9]. Among them, the gene RTCS (rootless concerning crown and seminal roots) was demonstrated to play a central role in the auxin-mediated initiation of seminal and shoot-borne roots in maize [5,9] and the mutant of this gene was impaired in the formation of these roots. Map-based cloning revealed that this gene was located in the short arm of chromosome 1, and encoded a LOB domain protein. Sequence analysis illustrated the maize RTCS gene was composed of 2 exons, separated by a 96-bp intron, and its protein product contained 244 amino acid residues. The maize RTCS gene is preferentially expressed in root tissues [5] and its protein product showed typical features of a transcription factor including nuclear localization, DNA-binding and downstream gene activation [6]. Although the favorable root architecture plays critically important roles for the development of plant, root architecture was rarely considered as a selection criterion or traits for maize improvement, mainly because of the practical difficulties with their evaluation under field conditions [3]. Recent researches in maize revealed that changes in root architecture can strongly affect the yield [10]. Because increasing crop yield through improvement of plant type and growing use of fertilizer has reached a maximum, much attention should be focused on improving the root system [1]. Researches on the sequence polymorphisms of key genes are important not only for crop improvement but also for efficient management and conservation of plant genetic resources [11,12,13]. However, rare researches in genetic variants in the DNA sequence have focused on the genes controlling the development of plant roots. In addition, the genetic diversity at the DNA level of maize RTCS gene is not known at present. Therefore, we detected nucleotide polymorphisms, haplotype diversity and evolutionary factors of the gene RTCS by direct sequencing 73 China elite inbred lines, including the lines from 5 temperate heterotic groups and some tropic germplasms. Materials and Methods Plant Materials A total of 73 China maize elite inbred lines were used in this study (Table 1). Among these inbred lines, 63 temperate and 10 tropic germplasms were used. The 63 temperate inbred lines were from 5 heterotic groups, including 15 from Tangsipingtou, 9 from Lvdahonggu, 11 from Lancaster, 13 from Reid, and 14 from P group. DNA-extraction and Sequencing RTCS Gene Genomic DNA of was extracted from young leaves of the tested inbred lines at the seedling stage using CTAB (cetyl trimethyl ammonium bromide) method based on the modified protocol [14]. The sequences of the RTCS gene in 73 inbred lines was sequenced by BGI Life Tech Co., Ltd. using the target sequence capture sequencing technology on the NimbleGen platform [15]. Sequence Analysis Multiple sequence alignment was performed using Clustal X [16] and was further edited manually. The software DNASP 5.0 [17,18] was used to analyze sequence nucleotide polymorphism and allelic diversities. Two parameters of nucleotide diversity, p and h were estimated. Where p is the average number of nucleotide differences per site between any two DNA sequences, and h is derived from the total number of segregating sites and corrected for sampling size. Tajimas D [19] and Fu and Lis [20] statistical tests were used to test the evidence of neutral evolution within each group and each defined region. The minimum number of recombination events [21] was estimated in the period of evolution of RTCS gene among these inbred lines. Nucleotide Diversity and Selection of RTCS Gene in China Elite Inbred Lines Sequence polymorphisms were detected among 73 maize inbred lines across 1279 bp of sequence, which covers a 167 bp 59 untranslated region (UTR), a 735 bp coding region, a 104 bp intron region, and a 273 bp 39 UTR. Nucleotide substitutions and indels at the RTCS locus were identified, and the results were summarized in Table 2. From the putative genomic sequences of the 73 maize inbred lines, a total of 44 SNP sites were identified, and among them, 16 and 28 sites belonged to singleton variable sites and parsimony informative sites, respectively. In addition, a total of 19 indel events covering 90 sites were identified in the genomic sequences (Table S1). For all the 73 inbred lines, the overall nucleotide diversity (p) of RTCS locus was 0.00666. Among 4 regions of the gene RTCS, the coding region showed much lower nucleotide polymorphism than others, while the intron region had the highest frequency of all sequence variants. This might be caused by the variant of indels, because this region had the highest Heterotic group Heterotic group Heterotic group QH19612a Chang7-2a Huang518a Huangzaosia aThe inbred lines of Huangzaosi and its derived lines. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0056495.t001 frequency of indels per bp. However, the frequency of nucleotide substitutions in 59UTR was higher than other regions. When we used the sliding window of 100 bp under a step size of 25 bp, the result revealed each region of the RTCS sequence possessed high frequency of polymorphic sites (Figure 1). The highest nucleotide diversity was within 1159 bp in 59-UTR with p~0:02296, while the lowest value (p~0) was found in regions of exon-1 and exon-2, respectively. The observed distribution of SNP sites and indel sites was found to be significantly different (for SNP, x2~11:147, df ~3, Pv0:05; for indel, x2~19:923, Pv0:01) from an expected even distribution across the four defined regions (Table 3). The uneven distribution of polymorphisms might be particularly due to the low frequency of variants in coding region. The Tajimas D test is a widely used test to identify sequences which do not fit the neutral theory model at equilibrium between mutation and genetic drift [19]. All the values of Tajimas D in the present study were not statistically significant, illustrating no significant selection existed in the entire RTCS sequences. In addition, Fu and Lis D* and F* were also not significant in almost all regions except for intron. Although these results could not reject the hypothesis of mutation drift equilibrium, a lack of footprint of positive selection in most regions of RTCS was suggested. Total length of amplicons (bp) Number of all sequence variants (SNPs and indels) Frequency of all sequence variants Number of nucleotide substitutions (bp) Frequency of polymorphic sites per bp Number of indels Number of indel sites Average indel length Frequency of indels per bp Coding region Entire region Table 3. Nucleotide and allele diversities of RTCS gene by analyzing 73 maize inbred lines. Parameters Coding Intron Entire region 0.01726 0.00436 0.00860 0.01547 0.00395 0.01342 0.31120 0.29566 20.85026 1.38655 21.63477 22.51473* 1.20720 21.13533 22.32168* *indicates the significance at P,0.05 level. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0056495.t003 Nucleotide Diversity and Selection in Each Heterotic Group The inbred lines used in this study can be classified into 6 groups, including 5 temperate heterotic groups and the group of tropic germplasms. We also tested the nucleotide diversity of both entire region and coding region of RTCS sequences for each group, and the result revealed that the nucleotide diversities of 5 groups were higher than or very near to the whole set (Table 4). The tropic group possessed the highest value nucleotide diversity, and its haplotype diversity (Hd) is 1 for the entire region of RTCS, suggesting each inbred line carried a haplotype. Only the P heterotic group had much lower nucleotide and haplotype diversities than the whole set both for the entire region and coding region. This result suggested that the P group was more conserved in RTCS locus than other groups. In addition, we also noticed that the statistics for Tajimas D, Fu and Lis D* and F* were all statistically significant in P group. This result illustrated that the RTCS gene in P group were not evolved neutrally, and also suggesting that selection might only acted the evolution of RTCS gene in this group. Huangzaosi is believed to be the representative line of the Tangsipingtou heterotic group and was used as a key maize inbred line in China [22]. Among all inbred lines used in this study, at least 11 lines were Huangzaosi and its derived lines. We also tested the sequence polymorphisms of RTCS gene in Huangzaosi and its derived lines. The result revealed that the nucleotide diversity (p) is higher than the whole set, illustrating that there were abundant nucleotide variations in Huangzaosi and its derived lines. In addition, none of the statistics for Tajimas D, Fu and Lis D* and F* were statistically significant for Huangzaosi and its derived lines, suggesting that selection was not included in the RTCS locus of this population. Haplotype Diversity Based on the whole length of the RTCS gene sequenced in 73 maize inbred lines, a total of 34 haplotypes were detected with a Hd equal to 0.8992 (Table S2). The inbred lines were unbalancedly distributed in these haplotypes. Among the haplotypes identified in this analysis, 26 contained only one inbred line. The most frequent haplotype was Hap_8, which contained 21 inbred lines. It should be mentioned that nearly all the inbred lines in P group belonged to this haplotype except for 91158, which was assigned to the haplotype Hap_27. In the coding region of the gene RTCS, 16 sequence variants, including 2 indels and 14 SNPs, were detected. Both of the 2 indels contained 3 nucleotide acids, respectively, and this can not result in frameshift of the codons. When we used the coding sequences to identify the hapotype diversity, a total of 14 haplotypes were identified for these 73 inbred lines (Table S3), and the hapotype diversity was 0.7705. Among the haplotypes identified according to CDS, 9 contained only one inbred line. The most frequent CDS haplotype was CDS_Hap_5, which contained 29 inbred lines from all 6 groups. In addition, CDS_Hap_7 and CDS_Hap_8 were also haplotypes with high frequency, and only no inbred lines in P group and tropic lines carried them, respectively. Among 14 SNPs in the coding region, 8 were synonymous sites, and the other 6 were nonsynonymous sites. The nonsynonymous sites and the indels will lead to the changes of protein sequences. When we translated the CDS into amino acid sequences, 7 types of RTCS protein sequences were found to be encoded by these inbred lines (Figure 2). Haplotypes CDS_Hap_5/6/7/14 encoded the most frequent type of RTCS protein, and contributed to more than half of all the inbred lines (42 out of 73). The variation of RTCS protein sequences was the result of combinations of 6 nonsynonymous mutations and 2 indels in the coding region. All of the variants at the protein level were found to be outside the LOB domain region (Figure 2), and in other words, the region of LOB domain of RTCS protein showed 100% identify in all the tested inbred lines. Evidence of Recombination The polymorphic sites in the entire RTCS sequence were used to detect the evidence of recombination. The patterns of the polymorphisms identified in inbred lines surveyed in this study indicated the history of recombination at RTCS gene, which contributed to the haplotype diversity. Under the algorithm of Hudson and Kaplan [21], at least 6 recombination events were found to be responsible to the polymorphism of RTCS gene. The recombination events were detected in the informative sites of every region, and they were found in the positions between 59-UTR and exon-1 (82353), between exon-1 and intron (398468), between intron and exon-2 (499553), the exon-2 (597667), between exon-2 and 39-UTR (8791038), and the 39UTR (10381154), respectively. The consequences of recombination events are evident in the pattern of polymorphisms when compared the sequence of one haplotype with others. For example, the 59 UTR sequence of the Hap_1 was the same as that of Hap_2. However, across the coding region and intron region, there were 4 variants between them, including 3 SNP and 1 indel covering 3 sites. The 39UTR region of Hap_1 was found to be again virtually identical to Hap_2. This result suggested that the RTCS sequence in Hap_2 has resulted from at least two recombination events in the past relative to Hap_1. The abundant genetic variations are the foundation for crop improvement. The analysis of the genetic diversity of plant variants is critical for understanding the genetic background of phenotypic variation, and in turn will provide great help for crop improvement [23]. In this study, we detected the nucleotide polymorphisms and the haplotype diversity of the gene RTCS, an important regulator for the developing of roots, in 73 China elite maize inbred lines. The identification of nucleotide variations exerting functional effects, especially those causing changes of amino acid composition, is the primary focus of association mapping [13]. Although most variants were found to be located in the non-coding region, the SNP sites and indels in the coding region also classified the tested inbred lines into 14 haplotypes. In addition, a total 7 deferring RTCS proteins were encoded by this gene in all the tested inbred lines. The nucleotide polymorphisms of RTCS gene in this study would be helpful in identifying alleles for further genetic analysis, and might also provide foundation for maize improvement. Heterotic groups are of primary importance in hybrid breeding. Crosses between inbred lines from different heterotic groups generally result in vigorous F1 hybrids with significantly more heterosis than F1 hybrids from inbred lines within the same heterotic group [24]. Heterotic groups are created by plant breeders to classify inbred lines, and can be progressively improved by reciprocal recurrent selection [25]. Although the classification of inbred lines into heterotic groups was based on their general combining ability (GCA) and specific combining ability (SCA) effects, the inbred lines within one heterotic group were generally believed to possess lower genetic divergence than those between different groups. Thus, molecular data, especially SSR molecular markers, was thought to be the efficient method in assigning inbred lines to specific heterotic groups [24,26,27,28,29]. The nucleotide polymorphisms of the RTCS locus were investigated in 73 elite inbred lines from different heterotic groups. The results revealed that sequence variants within each group were higher or very near to those of the whole set except for P group for both the entire region and the coding sequences. Because breeders mainly focused on increasing shoot biomass and seed yield in maize improvement in the past, the relevance of the root system for crop improvement has often overlooked [1,2]. The abundant variants within one heterotic group might be the result of overlook in the selection by breeders, although this gene plays important roles in formation of seminal and shoot-borne roots. The purpose of the selection test is to distinguish between a DNA sequence evolving randomly (neutrally) and one evolving under a non-random process, including directional selection or balancing selection, demographic expansion or contraction, genetic hitchhiking, or introgression [19]. The randomly evolving mutations are called neutral, while mutations under selection are non-neutral. In this study, we performed selective analysis for each heterotic group, and the results revealed that only P group was influenced by strong negative selection. Other groups have not influenced by selection, suggesting that a bottleneck for the usage of this locus in breeding in these heterotic groups. In addition, the haplotype detection also found that P group has a lower value of haplotype diversity than others. This might be the result of that this group was used in China for a short period after 1980s, and most of the inbred lines of this group in China were selected from the pioneer hybrid P78599 [26]. The consistency of the genetic background for the inbred lines in P group resulted in the low frequency of nucleotide variants. Huangzaosi is the most used maize inbred line in China, and more than 42 hybrids and 70 derived lines used this inbred line since it was first bred in 1971 [22]. 11 inbred lines of Huangzaosi and its derived lines were used to test the nucleotide polymorphisms. The results revealed that this set has a higher nucleotide diversity than the whole set, and no selection was identified in this set. These result suggested that the RTCS locus was not adopted when the breeders used Huangzaosi as a key inbred line. Supporting Information Table S1 The positions of nucleotide polymorphism of RTCS gene among 73 inbred lines. (XLS) Table S2 The distribution of haplotypes of RTCS gene in 73 inbred lines using the entire sequences. (DOC) Table S3 The distribution of haplotypes of RTCS gene in 73 inbred lines using the coding sequences. (DOC) Conceived and designed the experiments: ZY CX. Performed the experiments: EZ YW YH. Analyzed the data: ZY EZ YW. Contributed reagents/materials/analysis tools: EZ ZY XS. Wrote the paper: ZY EZ. 1. Den Herder G , Van Isterdael G , Beeckman T , De Smet I ( 2010 ) The roots of a new green revolution . Trends Plant Sci 15 : 600 - 607 . 2. Smith S , De Smet I ( 2012 ) Root system architecture: insights from Arabidopsis and cereal crops . Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci 367 : 1441 - 1452 . 3. Cai H , Chen F , Mi G , Zhang F , Maurer HP , et al. ( 2012 ) Mapping QTLs for root system architecture of maize (Zea mays L.) in the field at different developmental stages . 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Enying Zhang, Zefeng Yang, Yifan Wang, Yunyun Hu, Xiyun Song, Chenwu Xu. Nucleotide Polymorphisms and Haplotype Diversity of RTCS Gene in China Elite Maize Inbred Lines, PLOS ONE, 2013, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0056495