Uncovering the genes, variants, and interactions underlying crop diversity is a frontier in plant genetics. Phenotypic variation often does not reflect the cumulative effect of individual gene mutations. This deviation is due to epistasis, in which interactions between alleles are often unpredictable and quantitative in effect. Recent advances in genomics and genome-editing technologies are elevating the study of epistasis in crops. Using the traits and developmental pathways that were major targets in domestication and breeding, we highlight how epistasis is central in guiding the behavior of the genetic variation that shapes quantitative trait variation. We outline new strategies that illuminate how quantitative epistasis from modified gene dosage defines background dependencies. Advancing our understanding of epistasis in crops can reveal new principles and approaches to engineering targeted improvements in agriculture. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Genetics, Volume 54 is November 23, 2020. Please see http://www.annualreviews.org/page/journal/pubdates for revised estimates.
- PMID: 32870731
- DOI: 10.1146/annurev-genet-050720-122916