Development of molecular tools for the analysis of the plant genetic contribution to rhizobial and mycorrhizal symbiosis has provided major advances in our understanding of plant-microbe interactions, and several key symbiotic genes have been identified and characterized. In order to increase the efficiency of genetic analysis in the model legume Lotus japonicus, we present here a selection of improved genetic tools. The two genetic linkage maps previously developed from an interspecific cross between L. japonicus Gifu and L. filicaulis, and an intraspecific cross between the two ecotypes L. japonicus Gifu and L. japonicus MG-20, were aligned through a set of anchor markers. Regions of linkage groups, where genetic resolution is obtained preferentially using one or the other parental combination, are highlighted. Additional genetic resolution and stabilized mapping populations were obtained in recombinant inbred lines derived by a single seed descent from the two populations. For faster mapping of new loci, a selection of reliable markers spread over the chromosome arms provides a common framework for more efficient identification of new alleles and new symbiotic loci among uncharacterized mutant lines. Combining resources from the Lotus community, map positions of a large collection of symbiotic loci are provided together with alleles and closely linked molecular markers. Altogether, this establishes a common genetic resource for Lotus spp. A web-based version will enable this resource to be curated and updated regularly.
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