Theoretical and Applied Genetics

, Volume 133, Issue 1, pp 149–162 | Cite as

Dissection of genetic factors underlying grain size and fine mapping of QTgw.cau-7D in common wheat (Triticum aestivum L.)

  • Zhaoyan Chen
  • Xuejiao Cheng
  • Lingling Chai
  • Zhihui Wang
  • Ruolin Bian
  • Jiang Li
  • Aiju Zhao
  • Mingming Xin
  • Weilong Guo
  • Zhaorong Hu
  • Huiru Peng
  • Yingyin Yao
  • Qixin Sun
  • Zhongfu NiEmail author
Original Article


Key message

Thirty environmentally stable QTL controlling grain size and/or plant height were identified, among which QTgw.cau-7D was delimited into the physical interval of approximately 4.4 Mb.


Grain size and plant height (PHT) are important agronomic traits in wheat breeding. To dissect the genetic basis of these traits, we conducted a quantitative trait locus (QTL) analysis using recombinant inbred lines (RILs). In total, 30 environmentally stable QTL for thousand grain weight (TGW), grain length (GL), grain width (GW) and PHT were detected. Notably, one major pleiotropic QTL on chromosome arm 3DS explained the highest phenotypic variance for TGW, GL and PHT, and two stable QTL (QGw.cau-4B and QGw.cau-7D) on chromosome arms 4BS and 7DS contributed greater effects for GW. Furthermore, the stable QTL controlling grain size (QTgw.cau-7D and QGw.cau-7D) were delimited into the physical interval of approximately 4.4 Mb harboring 56 annotated genes. The elite NILs of QTgw.cau-7D increased TGW by 12.79–21.75% and GW by 4.10–8.47% across all three environments. Collectively, these results provide further insight into the genetic basis of TGW, GL, GW and PHT, and the fine-mapped QTgw.cau-7D will be an attractive target for positional cloning and marker-assisted selection in wheat breeding programs.



This work was financially supported by the National Key Research and Development Program of China (Grant No. 2016YFD0100801 and 2017YFD0101000).

Authors contribution statement

ZN conceived the project; XC developed the RIL population; ZC and JL constructed the linkage map. ZC, XC, ZW, JL and RB collected data of RIL population under six environments; ZC and ZW developed markers of the QTL region of interest; ZC developed the near isogenic lines; ZC and LC performed phenotyping of the near isogenic lines; AZ, MX, WG, ZH, HP, YY and QS assisted in revising the manuscript; ZC and ZN analyzed experimental results and wrote the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

122_2019_3447_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (2.4 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (XLSX 2486 kb)
122_2019_3447_MOESM2_ESM.tif (247 kb)
Fig. S1Histograms of the HS2/4332 recombinant inbred population for TGW, GL, GW and PHT based on the mean values. The Y-axis represents the density (the radio of frequency to group distance) of each trait. P < 0.05 indicates a significant departure from the normal distribution (Shapiro–Wilk test) (TIFF 247 kb)
122_2019_3447_MOESM3_ESM.tif (347 kb)
Fig. S2Illustration of 21 wheat chromosomes in the HS2/4332 RIL population. A centimorgan (cM) scale is shown on the left. The black lines on individual chromosomes represent SNP or SSR markers, the marker names are not shown (TIFF 347 kb)
122_2019_3447_MOESM4_ESM.tif (539 kb)
Fig. S3Comparison of TGW and GW between lines with HS2 allele and lines with 4332 allele in the RIL population of six environments and BLUP, when excluding the influence of the major QTL QTgw.cau-3D1. Significant differences are indicated by * (P < 0.05), ** (P < 0.01), **** (P < 0.0001) (Student’s t test) (TIFF 539 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zhaoyan Chen
    • 1
    • 2
  • Xuejiao Cheng
    • 1
    • 2
  • Lingling Chai
    • 1
    • 2
  • Zhihui Wang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ruolin Bian
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jiang Li
    • 1
    • 2
  • Aiju Zhao
    • 3
  • Mingming Xin
    • 1
    • 2
  • Weilong Guo
    • 1
    • 2
  • Zhaorong Hu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Huiru Peng
    • 1
    • 2
  • Yingyin Yao
    • 1
    • 2
  • Qixin Sun
    • 1
    • 2
  • Zhongfu Ni
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory for Agrobiotechnology, Key Laboratory of Crop Heterosis and Utilization (MOE), Key Laboratory of Crop Genetic ImprovementChina Agricultural UniversityBeijingChina
  2. 2.National Plant Gene Research CentreBeijingChina
  3. 3.Hebei Crop Genetic Breeding Laboratory, Institute of Cereal and Oil CropsHebei Academy of Agriculture and Forestry SciencesShijiazhuangChina

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