, Volume 66, Issue 3-4, pp 249-256

The Tom Thumb dwarfing gene Rht3 in wheat

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The effects of the ‘Tom ThumbRht3 dwarfing gene in wheat on plant height, yield components and grain quality in field trials of random inbred lines from two ‘Minister Dwarf’ (Rht3) x rht3 crosses are described. Limited genetic increases in Rht3 plant height, up to 70 cm, were achieved by incorporating genes from the extremely tall variety ‘April Bearded’. Amongst lines from the higher yielding cross, the dwarfing gene did not reduce grain yield but was associated with an increase in grain number of over 25%. Although Rht3 reduced grain protein content by up to 0.8%, breadmaking quality, as measured by SDS sedimentation values and baking tests, was not affected. A controlled environment experiment with near-isogenic Rht3 and rht3 lines indicated that reduced grain size in the dwarfs is a competitive response to the increase in fertility rather than a primary effect of the dwarfing gene.

Communicated by R. Riley