Theoretical and Applied Genetics

, Volume 126, Issue 5, pp 1189–1200 | Cite as

A non-additive interaction in a single locus causes a very short root phenotype in wheat

  • Wanlong Li
  • Huilan Zhu
  • Ghana S. Challa
  • Zhengzhi Zhang
Original Paper


Non-additive allelic interactions underlie over dominant and under dominant inheritance, which explain positive and negative heterosis. These heteroses are often observed in the aboveground traits, but rarely reported in root. We identified a very short root (VSR) phenotype in the F1 hybrid between the common wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) landrace Chinese Spring and synthetic wheat accession TA4152-71. When germinated in tap water, primary roots of the parental lines reached ~15 cm 10 days after germination, but those of the F1 hybrid were ~3 cm long. Selfing populations segregated at a 1 (long-root) to 1 (short-root) ratio, indicating that VSR is controlled by a non-additive interaction between two alleles in a single gene locus, designated as Vsr1. Genome mapping localized the Vsr1 locus in a 3.8-cM interval delimited by markers XWL954 and XWL2506 on chromosome arm 5DL. When planted in vermiculite with supplemental fertilizer, the F1 hybrid had normal root growth, virtually identical to the parental lines, but the advanced backcrossing populations segregated for VSR, indicating that the F1 VSR expression was suppressed by interactions between other genes in the parental background and the vermiculite conditions. Preliminary physiological analyses showed that the VSR suppression is independent of light status but related to potassium homeostasis. Phenotyping additional hybrids between common wheat and synthetics revealed a high VSR frequency and their segregation data suggested more Vsr loci involved. Because the VSR plants can be regularly maintained and readily phenotyped at the early developmental stage, it provides a model for studies of non-additive interactions in wheat.


Simple Sequence Repeat Marker Common Wheat Chinese Spring Cleave Amplify Polymorphic Sequence Brachypodium 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We are grateful to Drs. Harold Bockelman, Bikram S. Gill, Karl Glover, Kim Kidwell and Steven S. Xu for providing seeds, Dr. Justin Faris and two anonymous reviewers for critical reading of this manuscript, and Mr. Wenjie Wei for technical assistance. This project is supported by South Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station (Brookings, SD) and South Dakota Wheat Commission (Pierre, SD).

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 4 (DOCX 11 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wanlong Li
    • 1
    • 2
  • Huilan Zhu
    • 1
  • Ghana S. Challa
    • 1
  • Zhengzhi Zhang
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biology and MicrobiologySouth Dakota State UniversityBrookingsUSA
  2. 2.Department of Plant ScienceSouth Dakota State UniversityBrookingsUSA

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