Molecular Breeding

, 37:68 | Cite as

Targeted and efficient transfer of value-added genes into a wheat variety

  • N. Kumar
  • Harpinder S. Randhawa
  • Ryan W. Higginbotham
  • Xianming Chen
  • Timothy D. Murray
  • Kulvinder S. Gill


With an objective to optimize an approach to transfer value-added genes to a wheat variety while maintaining and improving agronomic performance, two alleles (Als1 and Als2) with mutations in the acetolactate synthase (ALS) gene located on the long arm of wheat chromosomes 6B and 6D providing tolerance to imazamox herbicide were transferred to Eltan, a popular soft white common winter wheat cultivar in the Pacific Northwest (PNW), USA. Four-step marker-assisted background selection and marker assisted forward breeding approaches were used to develop a wheat variety carrying two genes (Als1 and Als2) for imazamox tolerance along with improvements in many other agronomic traits. Screening of 1600 BC1 plants for imazamox tolerance identified 378 plants that were further screened with markers to identify seven plants that were used to make a population of 1400 BC2 plants, and the selection cycle was repeated. Progeny of 17 selected BC2F1 plants was evaluated for various agronomic and quality parameters to select 12 plants that were increased for field testing. Field evaluation of these lines conducted over 58 location-years along with evaluation in the greenhouse/growth chamber led to the selection of a line “WA8143” carrying the two genes for imazamox tolerance that yielded >3% higher than Eltan did. With 96.8% similarity to the recurrent parent, WA8143 also showed a better disease resistance package and grain quality needed in a successful Pacific Northwest wheat variety and was subsequently released for cultivation under the name of “Curiosity CL+.”


Triticum aestivum L. Marker-assisted background selection Two-gene imazamox tolerance Fast breeding Forward breeding 



Marker-assisted background selection


Solvent retention capacity


Simple sequence repeat


Soft white winter


WSU extension cereal variety testing program


Washington State University


Western Wheat Quality Laboratory


Single kernel characterization system


Recurrent parent genome



This work was supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Hatch (project number WNP00449), Washington Grain Commission, and US Agency for International Development Feed the Future Innovation Lab-Climate Resilient Wheat (Grant number AID-OAA-A-13-00008). The authors greatly appreciate the following personnel who assisted this research in various ways, such as for quality assessment, field testing, and disease screening: Dr. A. H. Carter, Dr. C. F. Morris, D. A. Engle (USDA-ARS), Dr. B. Baik (WSU), Dr. S. O. Guy, Dr. V. Jitkov, T. Harris, Dr. H. C. Wetzel, and J. S. Kuehner. We also thank Dr. D. See and the USDA-ARS Regional Small Grains Genotyping Laboratory, Pullman, WA, for providing facility for marker genotyping.

Supplementary material

11032_2017_649_MOESM1_ESM.eps (196 kb)
Fig. S1 Schematic representation of process for transferring two-gene (Als1 and Als2) for herbicide tolerance into ‘Eltan’ using marker-assisted forward breeding approach (EPS 196 kb)
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High resolution image (GIF 9 kb)

11032_2017_649_MOESM2_ESM.eps (1.2 mb)
Fig. S2 Phenotypic screening for herbicide tolerance under field conditions (a) Line carry two-gene mutant for ALS-tolerance and showing no damage, (b) Line carry single-gene mutant (Als1) and showing some damage, and (c) Wild type line or ‘susceptible’ that did not survive (EPS 1213 kb)
11032_2017_649_Fig5_ESM.gif (40 kb)

High resolution image (GIF 40 kb)

11032_2017_649_MOESM3_ESM.eps (137 kb)
Fig. S3 Binary plot distribution of two quality parameters (% sucrose-SRC and wheat predicted flour yield) of micro-solvent retention capacity (micro-SRC) test estimated from backcross population for herbicide tolerance along with the recipient parent ‘Eltan’ (EPS 136 kb)
11032_2017_649_Fig6_ESM.gif (9 kb)

High resolution image (GIF 8 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • N. Kumar
    • 1
  • Harpinder S. Randhawa
    • 2
  • Ryan W. Higginbotham
    • 3
  • Xianming Chen
    • 4
  • Timothy D. Murray
    • 4
  • Kulvinder S. Gill
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Crop and Soil SciencesWashington State UniversityPullmanUSA
  2. 2.Agriculture & Agri-Food CanadaLethbridge Research CentreLethbridgeCanada
  3. 3.WSU Extension, ANR Program UnitWashington State UniversityPullmanUSA
  4. 4.USDA-ARS, Wheat Health, Genetics and Quality Research Unit and Department Plant PathologyWashington State UniversityPullmanUSA

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