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Plant Physiol. 2005 Oct;139(2):1078-94. Epub 2005 Sep 23.

Genetic and physiological architecture of early vigor in Aegilops tauschii, the D-genome donor of hexaploid wheat. A quantitative trait loci analysis.

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Plant Ecophysiology, Utrecht University, The Netherlands.


Plant growth can be studied at different organizational levels, varying from cell, leaf, and shoot to the whole plant. The early growth of seedlings is important for the plant's establishment and its eventual success. Wheat (Triticum aestivum, genome AABBDD) seedlings exhibit a low early growth rate or early vigor. The germplasm of wheat is limited. Wild relatives constitute a source of genetic variation. We explored the physiological and genetic relationships among a range of early vigor traits in Aegilops tauschii, the D-genome donor. A genetic map was constructed with amplified fragment-length polymorphism and simple sequence repeat markers, and quantitative trait loci (QTL) analysis was performed on the F(4) population of recombinant inbred lines derived from a cross between contrasting accessions. The genetic map consisted of 10 linkage groups, which were assigned to the seven chromosomes and covered 68% of the D genome. QTL analysis revealed 87 mapped QTLs (log of the odds >2.65) in clusters, 3.1 QTLs per trait, explaining 32% of the phenotypic variance. Chromosomes 1D, 4D, and 7D harbored QTLs for relative growth rate, biomass allocation, specific leaf area, leaf area ratio, and unit leaf rate. Chromosome 2D covered QTLs for rate and duration of leaf elongation, cell production rate, and cell length. Chromosome 5D harbored QTLs for the total leaf mass and area and growth rate of the number of leaves and tillers. The results show that several physiological correlations between growth traits have a genetic basis. Genetic links between traits are not absolute, opening perspectives for identification of favorable alleles in A. tauschii to improve early vigor in wheat.

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