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Genetics. 2008 Mar;178(3):1725-36. doi: 10.1534/genetics.107.084939. Epub 2008 Feb 3.

Characterization of quantitative trait loci controlling genetic variation for preharvest sprouting in synthetic backcross-derived wheat lines.

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  • 1Department of Primary Industries, Primary Industries Research Victoria, Horsham, Victoria 3401, Australia.


Aegilops tauschii, the wild relative of wheat, has stronger seed dormancy, a major component of preharvest sprouting resistance (PHSR), than bread wheat. A diploid Ae. tauschii accession (AUS18836) and a tetraploid (Triticum turgidum L. ssp. durum var. Altar84) wheat were used to construct a synthetic wheat (Syn37). The genetic architecture of PHS was investigated in 271 BC(1)F(7) synthetic backcross lines (SBLs) derived from Syn37/2*Janz (resistant/susceptible). The SBLs were evaluated in three environments over 2 years and PHS was assessed by way of three measures: the germination index (GI), which measures grain dormancy, the whole spike assay (SI), which takes into account all spike morphology, and counted visually sprouted seeds out of 200 (VI). Grain color was measured using both Chroma Meter- and NaOH-based approaches. QTL for PHSR and grain color were mapped and their additive and epistatic effects as well as their interactions with environment were estimated by a mixed linear-model approach. Single-locus analysis following composite interval mapping revealed four QTL for GI, two QTL for SI, and four QTL for VI on chromosomes 3DL and 4AL. The locus QPhs.dpiv-3D.1 on chromosome 3DL was tightly linked to the red grain color (RGC) at a distance of 5 cM. The other locus on chromosome 3D, "QPhs.dpiv-3D.2" was independent of RGC locus. Two-locus analysis detected nine QTL with main effects and 18 additive x additive interactions for GI, SI, and VI. Two of the nine main effects QTL and two epistatic QTL showed significant interactions with environments. Both additive and epistatic effects contributed to phenotypic variance in PHSR and the identified markers are potential candidates for marker-assisted selection of favorable alleles at multiple loci. SBLs derived from Ae. tauschii proved to be a promising tool to dissect, introgress, and pyramid different PHSR genes into adapted wheat genetic backgrounds. The enhanced expression of PHS resistance in SBLs enabled us to develop white PHS-resistant wheat germplasm from the red-grained Ae. tauschii accession.

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