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QTL mapping for yield-related traits in wheat based on four RIL populations

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Key message

Eight environmentally stable QTL for grain yield-related traits were detected by four RIL populations, and two of them were validated by a natural wheat population containing 580 diverse varieties or lines.


Yield and yield-related traits are important factors in wheat breeding. In this study, four RIL populations derived from the cross of one common parent Yanzhan 1 (a Chinese domesticated cultivar) and four donor parents including Hussar (a British domesticated cultivar) and three semi-wild wheat varieties in China were phenotyped for 11 yield-related traits in eight environments. An integrated genetic map containing 2009 single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers generated from a 90 K SNP array was constructed to conduct quantitative trait loci (QTL) analysis. A total of 161 QTL were identified, including ten QTL for grain yield per plant (GYP) and yield components, 49 QTL for spike-related traits, 43 QTL for flag leaf-related traits, 22 QTL for plant height (PH), and 37 QTL for heading date and flowering date. Eight environmentally stable QTL were validated in individual RIL population where the target QTL was notably detected, and six of them had a significant effect on GYP. Furthermore, Two QTL, QSPS-2A.4 and QSL-4A.1, were also validated in a natural wheat population containing 580 diverse varieties or lines, which provided valuable resources for further fine mapping and genetic improvement in yield in wheat.

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Fig. 1
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Fig. 4



Recombinant inbred line


Quantitative trait locus/loci


Single-nucleotide polymorphism


Marker-assisted selection


Best linear unbiased prediction


Joint inclusive composite interval mapping


Analysis of variance


Phenotypic variation explained


Grain yield


Grain yield per plant


Spike number per plant


Kernel number per spike


Spike length


Spikelet number per spike


Flag leaf length


Flag leaf width


Flag leaf area


Plant height


Heading date


Flowering date


Yanzhan 1










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This work was supported by the Transgenic Special Item of China (2016ZX08002003-002 and 2016ZX08009-003), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31520103911, 31871610, 31901491 and 31901492), and the Agricultural Variety Improvement Project of Shandong Province (2019LZGC010).

Author information

LK and HW designed this research. JH carried out the research and then wrote the first draft of the manuscript. XW conducted the data analysis and revised this paper. GZ, WC, YH, XM, and SX participated in the field experiments and data collection. PJ constructed the integrated linkage map. JJ provided the materials. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Correspondence to Lingrang Kong or Hongwei Wang.

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I declare on behalf of my co-authors that the work described is original, previously unpublished research, and not under consideration for publication elsewhere. The experiments in this study comply with the current laws of China.

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Hu, J., Wang, X., Zhang, G. et al. QTL mapping for yield-related traits in wheat based on four RIL populations. Theor Appl Genet 133, 917–933 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00122-019-03515-w

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