Theoretical and Applied Genetics

, Volume 128, Issue 5, pp 953–964 | Cite as

Addition of rye chromosome 4R to wheat increases anther length and pollen grain number

  • Vy Nguyen
  • Delphine Fleury
  • Andy Timmins
  • Hamid Laga
  • Matthew Hayden
  • Diane Mather
  • Takashi OkadaEmail author
Original Paper


Key message

The research identified rye chromosome 4R arms associated with good pollinator traits, and demonstrated possible use of rye genetic resources to develop elite pollinators for hybrid wheat breeding.


Bread wheat (Triticum aestivum) is a predominantly self-pollinating plant which has relatively small-sized anthers and produces a low number of pollen grains. These features limit the suitability of most wheat lines as pollinators for hybrid seed production. One strategy for improving the pollination ability of wheat is to introgress cross-pollination traits from related species. One such species is rye (Secale cereale L.), which has suitable traits such as high anther extrusion, long anthers containing large amounts of pollen and long pollen viability. Therefore, introducing these traits into wheat is of great interest in hybrid wheat breeding. Here, we investigated wheat–rye chromosome addition lines for the effects of rye chromosomes on anther and pollen development in wheat. Using a single nucleotide polymorphism genotyping array, we detected 984 polymorphic markers that showed expected syntenic relationships between wheat and rye. Our results revealed that the addition of rye chromosomes 1R or 2R reduced pollen fertility, while addition of rye chromosome 4R increased anther size by 16 % and pollen grain number by 33 %. The effect on anther length was associated with increases in both cell size and the number of endothecium cells and was attributed to the long arm of chromosome 4R. In contrast, the effect on pollen grain number was attributed to the short arm of chromosome 4R. These results indicate that rye chromosome 4R contains at least two genetic factors associated with increased anther size and pollen grain number that can favourably affect pollination traits in wheat.


Addition Line Pollen Fertility Brachypodium Anther Length Chinese Spring Wheat 
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.



This research was supported by DuPont Agricultural Biotechnology—Pioneer Hi-Bred International, the Grains Research & Development Corporation, Australian Research Council and the State Government of South Australia. We thank Dr Gwen Mayo (Adelaide Microscopy) for supporting the microscopy work, Dr Ursula Langridge for supporting the glasshouse work, Dr Kelvin Khoo for supporting marker analysis, Ridma Jayasinghe and Dominique Jackson for technical assistance, Margaret Pallotta, Dr. Ryan Whitford and Prof Peter Langridge for their critical advice for the project, and Dr. Ian Dundas for critical reading of the manuscript.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Ethical standard

The authors note that this research is performed in accordance with ethical standards of the scientific conduct.

Supplementary material

122_2015_2482_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (14 kb)
Supplementary Table S1. Simple sequence repeat (SSR), sequence-tagged site (STS) and expressed sequence tag (EST)-based PCR markers used in this study for identifying specific rye chromosomes. (XLSX 14 kb)
122_2015_2482_MOESM2_ESM.xlsx (12 kb)
Supplementary Table S2. KASP™ markers designed to assay single nucleotide polymorphisms from the wheat 9K iSelect array. Each of the markers shown successfully detects the presence of a specific rye chromosome or chromosome arm in wheat-rye addition lines. (XLSX 12 kb)
122_2015_2482_MOESM3_ESM.xlsx (17 kb)
Supplementary Table S3. Annotated genes on rye chromosome 4R that have putative roles in cell cycle, cell growth, cell differentiation and flower development. Gene ontology information was obtained from corresponding rice gene model. (XLSX 17 kb)
122_2015_2482_MOESM4_ESM.jpg (355 kb)
Supplementary Figure S1. Confirmation of rye chromosome addition by EST and SSR markers. Representative marker results described in Supplementary Table S1 are shown. Three independent plants for each wheat-rye chromosome addition line (1R to 7R) and two plants each for CS and RI were assessed by SSR markers detecting rye chromosome. The sizes of RI-specific amplicons are shown on the left. These SSR markers successfully amplified rye genomic fragment in chromosome specific manner. For example, a 290 bp amplicon amplified by CGG62 marker is present in three 2R plants as well as in RI, while the other rye addition lines do not have this amplicon. These markers were used for preliminary and quick selection of plant materials. (JPEG 354 kb)
122_2015_2482_MOESM5_ESM.jpg (1.3 mb)
Supplementary Figure S2. Scanning electron microscopy images of pollen of Chinese Spring wheat (a), wheat-rye chromosome addition lines (b - j), and Imperial rye (k). The images were taken under a Philips XL20 Scanning Electron Microscope. Scale bars = 20 μm. (JPEG 1373 kb)
122_2015_2482_MOESM6_ESM.jpg (179 kb)
Supplementary Figure S3. Associations between anther and pollen traits. (a) Scatter plots for anther length and endothecium cell length. A correlation coefficient value is r = 0.76. (b) Scatter plots for anther length and pollen grain number per anther. A correlation coefficient value is r = 0.93. (JPEG 178 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vy Nguyen
    • 1
  • Delphine Fleury
    • 1
  • Andy Timmins
    • 1
  • Hamid Laga
    • 1
    • 2
  • Matthew Hayden
    • 3
  • Diane Mather
    • 1
  • Takashi Okada
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics and School of Agriculture, Food and Wine, Waite Research InstituteThe University of AdelaideGlen OsmondAustralia
  2. 2.Phenomics and Bioinformatics Research CentreUniversity of South AustraliaMawson LakesAustralia
  3. 3.Department of Environment and Primary Industry, AgriBioSciencesLa Trobe R&D ParkBundooraAustralia

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