Plant Foods for Human Nutrition

, Volume 31, Issue 3, pp 205-227

First online:

The use of genetics in understanding protein composition and grain quality in wheat

  • Colin W. WrigleyAffiliated withCSIRO Wheat Research Unit

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As each of the classes of wheat-grain protein has been implicated in some aspect of man's interest in wheat utilization, we are motivated to learn more about the genetic control of their synthesis so that breeders may better tailor wheats to specific requirements. The gliadins have particularly merited study because they appear to be responsible for coeliac condition and for depressed lysine content, and as they are proving valuable for varietal identification and grain-quality prediction. Genetic aspects of gliadin synthesis have been studied using aneuploids, by examining F1 and F2 segregation after crossing, and by computer comparison of the gliadin composition of many genotypes in conjunction with systematic pedigree comparisons. These studies indicate gliadin synthesis to be controlled by blocks of tightly linked genes on the short arms of the chromosomes of groups 1 and 6. The high molecular weight subunits of glutenin are genetically distinct from the gliadins, being coded by genes on the long arms of chromosomes 1A, 1B and 1D. A better understanding of the relationship between grain quality and specific endosperm proteins is now developing. It is likely to provide simpler means of selecting for quality type in both breeding and harvest segregation.

Key words

wheat grain quality endosperm protein gliadin glutenin