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Front Plant Sci. 2017 May 31;8:886. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2017.00886. eCollection 2017.

Genome-Wide Association Study of Grain Architecture in Wild Wheat Aegilops tauschii.

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School of Agricultural Biotechnology, Punjab Agricultural UniversityLudhiana, India.
Crop Genetics, John Innes CentreNorwich, United Kingdom.
Wheat Genetics Resource Center, Department of Plant Pathology, Kansas State University, ManhattanKS, United States.
Department of Plant Breeding and Genetics, Punjab Agricultural UniversityLudhiana, India.


Aegilops tauschii, the D-genome progenitor of Triticum aestivum, encompasses huge diversity for various traits of potential economic importance such as yield, biotic and abiotic stress tolerance, quality and nutrition. In the present study, variation for grain size in Ae. tauschii germplasm was studied and its genetic basis dissected using genome-wide association study (GWAS). Grain length, width, and weight evaluated in 177 Ae. tauschii accessions over 3 years showed near normal distribution with 1.74-, 1.75-, and 2.82-fold variation, respectively. These lines were genetically characterized using genotyping-by-sequencing (GBS) protocol that produced 11,489 single nucleotide polymorphic (SNP) markers. Genetic diversity analysis revealed the presence of two distinct subgroups (designated as lineage 1 and 2) in Ae. tauschii. Based on GBS markers, the genetic similarity was calculated between the accessions and GWAS was conducted using 114 non-redundant accessions and 5,249 SNP markers. A total of 17 SNPs associated with grain size traits distributed over all the seven chromosomes were revealed with 6D, 5D, and 2D harboring most significant marker-trait associations. Some of the chromosomal regions such as 6D_66.4-71.1 cM, 1D_143.5-156.7 cM, and 2D_89.9-92.5 cM had associations with multiple traits. Candidate genes associated with cell division and differentiation were identified for some of the associated SNP markers. Further efforts to validate these loci will help to understand their role in determining grain size and allelic diversity in current germplasm and its effect on grain size upon transfer to bread wheat background.


Aegilops tauschii; genetic diversity; genome-wide association mapping; genotyping by sequencing; grain size; single nucleotide polymorphic markers

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