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Rht12b, a widely used ancient allele of TaGA2oxA13, reduces plant height and enhances yield potential in wheat

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Abstract

Key message

We identified a new wheat dwarfing allele Rht12b conferring reduced height and higher grain yield, pinpointed its causal variations, developed a breeding-applicable marker, and traced its origin and worldwide distribution.

Abstract

Plant height control is essential to optimize lodging resistance and yield gain in crops. RHT12 is a reduced height (Rht) locus that is identified in a mutationally induced dwarfing mutant and encodes a gibberellin 2-oxidase TaGA2oxA13. However, the artificial dwarfing allele is not used in wheat breeding due to excessive height reduction. Here, we confirmed a stable Rht locus, overlapping with RHT12, in a panel of wheat cultivars and its dwarfing allele reduced plant height by 5.4–8.2 cm, equivalent to Rht12b, a new allele of RHT12. We validated the effect of Rht12b on plant height in a bi-parent mapping population. Importantly, wheat cultivars carrying Rht12b had higher grain yield than those with the contrasting Rht12a allele. Rht12b conferred higher expression level of TaGA2oxA13. Transient activation assays defined SNP−390(C/A) in the promoter of TaGA2oxA13 as the causal variation. An efficient kompetitive allele-specific PCR marker was developed to diagnose Rht12b. Conjoint analysis showed that Rht12b plus the widely used Rht-D1b, Rht8 and Rht24b was the predominant Rht combination and conferred a moderate plant height in tested wheat cultivars. Evolutionary tracking uncovered that RHT12 locus arose from a tandem duplication event with Rht12b firstly appearing in wild emmer. The frequency of Rht12b was approximately 70% (700/1005) in a worldwide wheat panel and comparable to or higher than those of other widely used Rht genes, suggesting it had been subjected to positive selection. These findings not only identify a valuable Rht gene for wheat improvement but also develop a functionally diagnostic tool for marker-assisted breeding.

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Data availability

The datasets generated during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.

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Acknowledgements

We are grateful to Prof. Robert McIntosh, Plant Breeding Institute, University of Sydney, for revising this manuscript.

Funding

This work was supported by the National Key Research and Development Program of China (2022YFF1002904, 2022YFD1201500) and the Science and Technology Innovation Program of Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS).

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Contributions

YJB, LLL, XLT, DAX, MJS, FJL, LNX, SYL and BYL performed the experiments and participated in field trials; SHC and YJB wrote the draft manuscript; SHC and ZHH designed the experiments. XCX assisted in writing the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Zhonghu He or Shuanghe Cao.

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We declare no conflicts of interest in regard to this manuscript.

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These experiments complied with the ethical standards in China.

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Communicated by Susanne Dreisigacker.

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Bian, Y., Li, L., Tian, X. et al. Rht12b, a widely used ancient allele of TaGA2oxA13, reduces plant height and enhances yield potential in wheat. Theor Appl Genet 136, 253 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00122-023-04502-y

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