Linum Genetic markers, maps and QTL discovery


Cloutier S, You FM, Soto-Cerda BJ (2019) Linum Genetic Markers, Maps and QTL Discovery. In: Genetics and Genomics of Linum, Plant Genetics and Genomics: Crops and Models 23, Cullis CA (ed), Springer Nature, Switzerland, Chap 7,

Plain language summary

Flax, one of the founder crops of agriculture, is cultivated today as a fibre crop and as an omega-3 rich oilseed. Canada is the largest exporter of oilseed flax, also called flaxseed or linseed. The development of new cultivars of flax through breeding aims at improving yield, oil content and quality, resistance to diseases and stresses such as drought. To do so, breeders rely more and more on molecular breeding based strategies. The assembly of the flax genome and the production of genetic maps have enabled the identification of quantitative trait loci for these important traits. In other words, we were able to precisely position, onto the chromosomes of flax, the location of genes that control agronomic, quality and resistance traits in flax. In less than a decade, flax genomics resources went from nearly non-existent to being among the best crops. These resources are now being actively applied in breeding to assist and facilitate the improvement of flax.


Linum usitatissimum (flax) is an ancient crop that has now a rapidly expanding set of genomic resources. The development of molecular markers from restriction fragment length polymorphisms to simple sequence repeats and single nucleotide polymorphisms has followed the evolution of these technologies and then expanded through the advent of high-throughput sequencing technologies. The combination of markers, next-generation sequencing, and optical mapping techniques has supported the development of genetic maps with an increasing density of markers resulting in the assembly of chromosome-based pseudomolecules. These marker resources have been used to identify quantitative trait loci for numerous agronomically important traits within the cultivated flax and its wild progenitor core collections.

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