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Line selection for exploiting durum wheat (T. turgidum L. var. durum) local landraces in modern variety development program


Pure line selection for grain yield applied within four durum wheat local landraces (Triticum turgidum L. var durum) was studied in an effort to determine: (i) the agronomic performance of selected line mixtures (bulks) and their value as potential new cultivars, (ii) the effectiveness of pure line selection for grain yield within local landraces and (iii) the correlated selection response of yield components and kernel quality traits. Four local durum wheat landraces were used. Two of them, Mytilini-1 and Mytilini-2 are still cropped in some rural areas of the island Mytilini whereas the other two, Limnos and Mavragani are maintained in the Greek Gene Bank. Following their preliminary evaluation for agronomic performance under current growing conditions, 100 individual plants from each landrace were randomly selected. Selected plants (pure lines) were field evaluated head to row during 1997–98 and 1998–99 growing seasons. Based on grain yield performance, bidirectional selection, high vs low, was practised within each landrace. Thus the five higher yielding lines and their corresponding lower ones from each landrace were identified. Selected lines, with no further progeny testing, were pooled using a balanced seed composite to form the high yielding five line bulk and its respective low counterpart. The resulting 16 bulks (eight high and eight low) along with their four source landraces and two commercial varieties, Mexicalli and Simmeto, used as checks, entered field testing for agronomic performance in two and one location during 1999–00 and 2000–01 growing seasons respectively. Data for grain yield and yield components (1000 kernel weight, number of kernels, and productive tillers) along with kernel quality data (protein content and vitreous) were recorded. Data for grain yield indicated that the landraces studied seemed to be line mixtures, as expected, since they responded to bidirectional phenotypic pure line selection. The high yielding bulks were of interesting agronomic performance, equivalent to or significantly better than that of the commercial checks and are worth further testing as potential cultivars. Selected high bulks of Mytilini 2 landrace significantly outyielded both the source landrace and the commercial checks maintaining the high protein content of the source landrace, which was significantly higher than checks. This performance provides evidence that the within landraces selection of lines combining high grain yield with high protein content seems to be feasible. In conclusion, evidence is presented that genetic variability seems to be available within the landraces studied which could be worth using in breeding programs. Furthermore the simple pure line selection breeding effort undertaken seemed to be effective in developing line bulks with promising performance and worth further testing as potential cultivars.

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Correspondence to C. K. Goulas.

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Agorastos, A.G., Goulas, C.K. Line selection for exploiting durum wheat (T. turgidum L. var. durum) local landraces in modern variety development program. Euphytica 146, 117–124 (2005).

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Key words

  • grain yield
  • pure line selection
  • quality traits
  • wheat landraces
  • yield components