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Unraveling the hexaploid sweetpotato inheritance using ultra-dense multilocus mapping.

The hexaploid sweetpotato (Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam., 2n = 6x = 90) is an important staple food crop worldwide and plays a vital role in alleviating famine in developing countries. Due to its high ploidy level, genetic studies in sweetpotato lag behind major diploid crops significantly. We built an ultra-dense multilocus integrated genetic map and characterized the inheritance system in a sweetpotato full-sib family using our newly developed software, MAPpoly. The resulting genetic map revealed 96.5% collinearity between I. batatas and its diploid relative I. trifida. We computed the genotypic probabilities across the whole genome for all individuals in the mapping population and inferred their complete hexaploid haplotypes. We provide evidence that most of the meiotic configurations (73.3%) were resolved in bivalents, although a small portion of multivalent signatures (15.7%), among other inconclusive configurations (11.0%), were also observed. Except for low levels of preferential pairing in linkage group 2, we observed a hexasomic inheritance mechanism in all linkage groups. We propose that the hexasomic-bivalent inheritance promotes stability to the allelic transmission in sweetpotato.