, Volume 197, Issue 3, pp 409–421 | Cite as

Variation at glutenin subunit loci, single kernel characterization and evaluation of grain protein in East African bread wheat varieties

  • Godwin K. Macharia
  • Roberto J. Peña
  • Senay Simsek
  • James A. Anderson


Wheat breeding programs worldwide aim at developing cultivars that meet end user quality attributes demanded by producers, processors, and consumers. Selecting from breeding populations created from well characterized parental germplasm provides the best opportunity of identifying cultivars that combine the best alleles and grain phenotypes for the desired technological applications. In this study, 216 bread wheat lines associated with Ethiopian and Kenyan breeding programs including a few founder lines were profiled for high molecular weight glutenin subunits and low molecular weight glutenin subunits by SDS-PAGE. Additionally, total crude protein, relative puroindoline content by SDS-PAGE, kernel diameter, kernel weight and kernel hardness by SKCS were determined. Extensive allelic variation at the glutenin subunit loci was found, with Glu-B1 and Glu-B3 having highest diversity across subpopulations. Relative to wild type cultivar ‘Alpowa-1-soft’, the founder line BW21 had the lowest puroindoline content. The frequencies of soft and very soft wheat classes were lowest in the Ethiopian subpopulation and highest among the Kenyan lines. Accordingly, 12 lines considered to have optimal combinations of glutenin subunit alleles and kernel characteristics were highlighted and recommended for cultivar improvement.


Triticum aestivum Glutenin alleles Puroindolines Kernel hardness 



We thank Dr. Craig Morris for providing the puroindoline standards. The help provided by Gloria Nygard in PAGE analysis was gratefully appreciated.

Supplementary material

10681_2014_1077_MOESM1_ESM.doc (290 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 290 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht (outside the USA) 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Godwin K. Macharia
    • 1
  • Roberto J. Peña
    • 2
  • Senay Simsek
    • 3
  • James A. Anderson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Agronomy and Plant GeneticsUniversity of MinnesotaSt. PaulUSA
  2. 2.International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT)MexicoMexico
  3. 3.Department of Plant SciencesNorth Dakota State UniversityFargoUSA

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