Integration of a Systems Biological Network Analysis and QTL Results for Biomass Heterosis in Arabidopsis thaliana
To contribute to a further insight into heterosis we applied an integrative analysis to a systems biological network approach and a quantitative genetics analysis towards biomass heterosis in early Arabidopsis thaliana development. The study was performed on the parental accessions C24 and Col-0 and the reciprocal crosses. In an over-representation analysis it was tested if the overlap between the resulting gene lists of the two approaches is significantly larger than expected by chance. Top ranked genes in the results list of the systems biological analysis were significantly over-represented in the heterotic QTL candidate regions for either hybrid as well as regarding mid-parent and best-parent heterosis. This suggests that not only a few but rather several genes that influence biomass heterosis are located within each heterotic QTL region. Furthermore, the overlapping resulting genes of the two integrated approaches were particularly enriched in biomass related pathways. A chromosome-wise over-representation analysis gave rise to the hypothesis that chromosomes number 2 and 4 probably carry a majority of the genes involved in biomass heterosis in the early development of Arabidopsis thaliana.