Creation and functional analysis of new Puroindoline alleles in Triticum aestivum
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The Hardness (Ha) locus controls grain texture and affects many end-use properties of wheat (Triticum aestivum L.). The Ha locus is functionally comprised of the Puroindoline a and b genes, Pina and Pinb, respectively. The lack of Pin allelic diversity is a major factor limiting Ha functional analyses and wheat quality improvement. In order to create new Ha alleles, a 630 member M2 population was produced in the soft white spring cultivar Alpowa using ethylmethane sulfonate mutagenesis. The M2 population was screened to identify new alleles of Pina and Pinb. Eighteen new Pin alleles, including eight missense alleles, were identified. F2 populations for four of the new Pin alleles were developed after crossing each back to non-mutant Alpowa. Grain hardness was then measured on F2:3 seeds and the impact of each allele on grain hardness was quantified. The tested mutations were responsible for between 28 and 94% of the grain hardness variation and seed weight and vigor of all mutation lines was restored among the F2 populations. Selection of new Pin alleles following direct phenotyping or direct sequencing is a successful approach to identify new Ha alleles useful in improving wheat product quality and understanding Ha locus function.