QTL analysis and fine mapping of a QTL for yield-related traits in wheat grown in dry and hot environments


Genetic control of grain yield and phenology was examined in the Excalibur/Kukri doubled haploid mapping population grown in 32 field experiments across the climatic zones of southern Australia, India and north-western Mexico where the wheat crop experiences drought and heat stress. A total of 128 QTL were identified for four traits: grain yield, thousand grain weight (TGW), days to heading and grain filling duration. These QTL included 24 QTL for yield and 27 for TGW, showing significant interactions with the environment (Q * E). We also identified 14 QTL with a significant, small main effects on yield across environments. The study focussed on a region of chromosome 1B where two main effect QTL were found for yield and TGW without the confounding effect of phenology. Excalibur was the source of favourable alleles: QYld.aww-1B.2 with a peak at 149.5–150.1 cM and QTgw.aww-1B at 168.5–171.4 cM. We developed near isogenic lines (NIL) for the interval including QYld.aww-1B.2 and QTgw.aww-1B and evaluated them under semi-controlled conditions. Significant differences in four pairs of NIL were observed for grain yield but not for TGW, confirming a positive effect of the Excalibur allele for QYld.aww-1B.2. The interval containing QYld.aww-1B.2 was narrowed down to 2.9 cM which corresponded to a 2.2 Mbp genomic region on the chromosome 1B genomic reference sequence of cv. Chinese Spring and contained 39 predicted genes.

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We thank the Grains Research and Development Corporation, the Australian Research Council and the South Australian State Government for funding this research, the wheat physiology group at CIMMYT for the field experiments in Mexico, the Australian Grain Technologies team (Haydn Kuchel, Ali Izanloo, Dion Bennett, Jason Reinheimer, Simeon Hemer, Stuart Milde, Dan Vater, Phil Keatley, Rowan Prior, Jake Schutz, Kath Kuchel and Sue Edlington), Leigh Davis and William Shoobridge for Australian field experiments. While conducting this research, Thorsten Schnurbusch was partly supported by a Feodor-Lynen-Program Research Fellowship from the Alexander-von-Humboldt Foundation, Bonn-Bad Godesberg, Germany, and partly by the Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics, Adelaide, Australia. Vijay Gahlaut received a fellowship from the National Academy of Science of India. Indian National Science Academy (INSA) supported Professor P. K. Gupta and Professor Harindra Singh Balyan as Senior Scientists. Professor Diane Mather (University of Adelaide) provided the GBS dataset of Excalibur/Kukri DH population. Dr Melissa Garcia was funded by the ARC Industrial Transformation Research Hub for Wheat in a Hot and Dry Climate (IH130200027). BioPlatforms Australia generated the whole genome sequence datasets of Excalibur and Kukri varieties.

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HT developed NIL, phenotyped and analysed NIL data, constructed the high-resolution genetic map of chromosome 1B, annotated the genomic sequence and wrote the manuscript under the supervision of DF, FS, MG and PL. DF, FS and PL conceived the project. DF and PL coordinated the overall experiments. JE, HK and TS designed and conducted the DH field trials in Australia, VG, PKG and HSB in India, and MR in Mexico. BS run the multi-environment QTL analysis of the DH. All authors reviewed and approved this manuscript.

Correspondence to Melissa Garcia.

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Tura, H., Edwards, J., Gahlaut, V. et al. QTL analysis and fine mapping of a QTL for yield-related traits in wheat grown in dry and hot environments. Theor Appl Genet 133, 239–257 (2020) doi:10.1007/s00122-019-03454-6

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