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Genes Genet Syst. 2019 Apr 9;94(1):35-49. doi: 10.1266/ggs.18-00045. Epub 2019 Jan 10.

Genetic dissection of grain morphology in hexaploid wheat by analysis of the NBRP-Wheat core collection.

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Laboratory of Plant Genetics, Graduate School of Agriculture, Kyoto University.
Department of Plant Life Science, Faculty of Agriculture, Ryukoku University.


We investigated the genetic diversity of the core collection of hexaploid wheat accessions in the Japanese wheat gene bank, NBRP-Wheat, with a focus on grain morphology. We scanned images of grains in the core collection, which consists of 189 accessions of Triticum aestivum, T. spelta, T. compactum, T. sphaerococcum, T. macha and T. vavilovii. From the scanned images, we recorded six metric characters (area size, perimeter length, grain length, grain width, length to width ratio and circularity) using the software package SmartGrain ver. 1.2. Statistical analyses of the collected data along with hundred-grain weight revealed that T. aestivum has the largest diversity in grain morphology. Principal component analysis of these seven characters demonstrated that two principal components (PCcore1 and PCcore2) explain more than 96% of the variation in the core collection accessions. The correlation coefficients between the principal components and characters indicate that PCcore1 is related to grain size and PCcore2 to grain shape. From a genome-wide association study, we found a total of 15 significant marker-trait associations (MTAs) for grain morphological characters. More interestingly, we found mutually exclusive MTAs for PCcore1 and PCcore2 on 18 and 13 chromosomes, respectively. The results suggest that grain morphology in hexaploid wheat is determined by two factors, grain size and grain shape, which are under the control of multiple genetic loci.


association analysis; core collection; genetic diversity; grain morphology; hexaploid wheat

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