, Volume 250, Issue 6, pp 1967–1981 | Cite as

Identification of the quantitative trait loci controlling spike-related traits in hexaploid wheat (Triticum aestivum L.)

  • Pei Cao
  • Xiaona Liang
  • Hong Zhao
  • Bo Feng
  • Enjun Xu
  • Liming Wang
  • Yuxin HuEmail author
Original Article


Main conclusion

Totally, 48 loci responsible for six spike-related traits were identified in wheat, and a major locus QGl-4A for grain length was mapped and validated for marker-assisted selection in breeding.


Wheat yield is determined by the number of spikes, number of grains per spike (GN), and one-thousand kernel weight (TKW), among which GN and TKW are greatly related to the spike development and thus the spike-related traits, including spike length (SL), number of spikelet per spike (SN), grain length (GL) and grain width (GW). To identify the key loci governing the spike-related traits (SL, SN, GN, TKW, GL and GW), we conducted the quantitative trait loci (QTL) analysis combined with wheat 660K SNP chip and Kompetitive allele-specific PCR (KASP) assay, using the F2 and F2:3 populations derived from Luohan6 (LH6) with big spike and grain and Zhengmai366 with small spike and grain, and identified a total of 48 QTLs on 18 chromosomes. Moreover, a major stable QTL for GL on chromosome 4A, designated as QGl-4A, was mapped into a 0.37 cM interval between KASP markers Xib4A-10 and Xib4A-12, corresponding to 20 Mb physical region in the Chinese Spring genome. This QTL explained 17.30% and 5.12% of the phenotypic variation for GL in the F2 and F2:3 populations. Further association analysis of flanking markers Xib4A-10 and Xib4A-12 in 192 wheat varieties showed that these two markers could be used for marker-assisted selection in breeding. These results provide valuable information for map-based cloning of the target genes involved in the regulation of spike-related traits in common wheat.


Grain length Grain weight KASP markers QTL Spike-related traits Wheat 



Spike length


Spikelet numbers per spike


Grain number per spike


One-thousand kernel weight


Grain length


Grain width


Kompetitive allele-specific PCR









We thank Kunpu Zhang (Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences) for providing the seeds of ZM366, LH6 and SN8355. This work was supported by the Ministry of Agriculture of China (2016ZX08009-003), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31500298), the National Key Research and Development Program of China (2016YFD0101004) and the Chinese Academy of Science (XDA08010104).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

We declare no conflicts of interest in regards to this manuscript.

Ethical standards

We declare that these experiments comply with the ethical standards in China.

Supplementary material

425_2019_3278_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (106 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (XLSX 106 kb)


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Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Plant Molecular Physiology, CAS Center for Excellence in Molecular Plant Sciences, Institute of BotanyChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.Chengdu Institute of BiologyChinese Academy of SciencesChengduChina
  4. 4.Henan Science and Technology UniversityLuoyangChina
  5. 5.National Center for Plant Gene ResearchBeijingChina

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