, 215:121 | Cite as

Genome-wide association mapping of root system architecture traits in common wheat (Triticum aestivum L.)

  • Peng Liu
  • Yirong Jin
  • Jindong LiuEmail author
  • Caiyun Liu
  • Hongping Yao
  • Fuyi Luo
  • Zhihui Guo
  • Xianchun Xia
  • Zhonghu HeEmail author


Uncovering the genetic basis and optimization of root system architecture (RSA) traits are crucial for modern wheat breeding. Genome-wide association mapping has become a powerful approach to dissect the genetic architecture of complex quantitative traits. In the present study, RSA traits, viz. total root length (TRL), total root area, average root diameter and number of root tips in a diverse panel of 165 elite wheat cultivars from the Yellow and Huai River Valley Facultative Wheat Region of China were evaluated as seedlings in hydroponic culture and in the field to identify loci significantly associated with those traits. The diverse panel was genotyped using the wheat 90 K and 660 K SNP arrays, and a genome-wide association study using a mixed linear model identified 28 and 4 loci significantly associated with RSA traits in hydroponic culture and in the field, explaining 8.8–15.6% and 8.9–12.6% of phenotypic variances, respectively. Seven loci for RSA traits co-located with known genes or quantitative trait loci (QTL), whereas the other 22 were potentially new. Linear regression between favorable alleles and RSA traits suggested that QTL pyramiding should be effective in optimizing root systems. Two candidate genes for RSA traits were identified, including genes encoding calcium dependent protein kinase and E3-Ubiquitin protein ligase. This study provides novel insights into the genetic architecture of RSA traits.


Bread wheat GWAS Marker-assisted selection RSA traits SNP arrays 



We are grateful to Prof. R. A. McIntosh, Plant Breeding Institute, University of Sydney, for critical review of this manuscript. This work was implemented by the Key Research and Development Plan of Shandong Province (2017GNC10107), the Key Laboratory of Biology, Genetics & Breeding for Triticeae Crops, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, the Natural Science Foundation of Shandong Province (ZR2017BC015), and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31671691).

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peng Liu
    • 1
  • Yirong Jin
    • 1
  • Jindong Liu
    • 2
    Email author
  • Caiyun Liu
    • 1
  • Hongping Yao
    • 3
  • Fuyi Luo
    • 3
  • Zhihui Guo
    • 1
  • Xianchun Xia
    • 4
    • 5
  • Zhonghu He
    • 4
    • 5
    Email author
  1. 1.Dezhou Academy of Agricultural SciencesDezhouChina
  2. 2.Agricultural Genomics Institute at ShenzhenChinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS)ShenzhenChina
  3. 3.Dezhou Bureau of AgricultureDezhouChina
  4. 4.Institute of Crop Sciences, National Wheat Improvement CenterChinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS)BeijingChina
  5. 5.International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) China OfficeBeijingChina

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