• cowpea;
  • quantitative trait locus;
  • recombinant inbred lines;
  • scent


Floral scent is a very important trait in plant evolution. Currently, little is known about the inheritance of floral scent in cowpea (Vigna unguiculata L.) or changes that might have occurred during its domestication. Therefore, we analysed scent volatiles and molecular markers in a population of 159 F7 recombinant inbred lines derived from a cross of a domesticated blackeye cowpea cultivar, ‘524B’ and a wild accession ‘219-01’. Using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC–MS) 23 volatile compounds were identified that fall into five general functional categories. Twenty-two of the compounds displayed quantitative variation in the progeny, and a total of 63 QTLs influencing the amounts of these volatiles were mapped onto the cowpea genetic marker map. Although QTLs for volatile compounds putatively involved in cowpea flower scent were found on 9 of the 11 cowpea chromosomes, they were not evenly distributed with QTLs mainly clustered on LGs 1, LGs 2 and LG 4. Our results serve as a starting point for both more detailed analyses of complex scent biosynthetic pathways and the development of markers for marker-assisted breeding of scented rose varieties.