, Volume 203, Issue 3, pp 569–582 | Cite as

QTL mapping for leaf senescence-related traits in common wheat under limited and full irrigation

  • Xing-Mao Li
  • Zhong-Hu He
  • Yong-Gui Xiao
  • Xian-Chun Xia
  • Richard Trethowan
  • Hua-Jun Wang
  • Xin-Min ChenEmail author


Leaf senescence is an important trait for yield improvement under stress. In the present study, 207 F2:4 random inbred lines (RILs) derived from the Jingdong 8/Aikang 58 cross were investigated under limited and full irrigation environments at two locations during the 2011–2012 and 2012–2013 cropping seasons. The RILs were genotyped with 149 SSR markers and QTLs for leaf senescence-related traits and heading dates (HD) were analyzed by inclusive composite interval mapping. The broad sense heritabilities of normalized difference vegetation index at Zadoks47 (NDVIv) and at Zadoks75 (NDVIg), leaf senescence rate (LSR), leaf senescence scored visually (LSS), leaf area index (LAI) and HD were 0.37–0.54, 0.39–0.48, 0.4–0.45, 0.56–0.58, 0.64–0.79 and 0.82–0.86, respectively. There were significant correlations between NDVIg and LSR (r = −0.55 to −0.70), NDVIg and LSS (r = −0.61 to −0.61), and LSS and LSR (r = 0.48–0.68). NDVIv and LAIv explained 18.5 % and 19.4 % of the variation in grain yield under limited irrigation, respectively. Forty five QTLs were distributed on 15 chromosomes. The respective numbers of QTLs for NDVIv, NDVIg, LSR, LSS and HD were 10, 10, 9, 9 and 7 across all eight environments. Previously unreported QTLs were found on chromosomes 1A, 2D, 5B, 7A and 7D for NDVI, on 6D for LSR and 5B for LSS. QNDVIv.caas-4A explained 23.7–56.6 % of the phenotypic variation (PV) for NDVIv and was stably expressed in four environments. In contrast, QNDVIg.caas-4B.2 explained 13.2–16.0 % of PV but was only expressed in full irrigation. Pleiotropic QTLs were detected; QNDVIv.caas-5B, explaining 22.9–35.9 % of PV, had an effect on LSS, and QNDVIg.caas-4D, accounting for 11.5–28.5 % of PV, also influenced NDVIv. QTLs controlling LSR, QLSR.caas-4D and QLSR.caas-3B, also increased thousand kernel weight and grain yield, indicating that rapid senescence increased grain filling rate. Some QTLs such as QNDVIg.caas-1A.1, QLSR.caas-2A, QLSS.caas-2B, QLSS.caas-3B, QLSS.caas-5B and QLSS.caas-2D.1 were detected only under limited irrigation. These drought stress-induced QTLs could be valuable for improving drought resistance in wheat.


Triticumaestivum Quantitative trait locus Leaf senescence Reduced irrigation 



Grain yield


Heading date


Leaf area index at Zadoks75


Leaf area index at Zadoks47


Leaf senescence rate


Leaf senescence score


Normalized difference vegetation index at Zadoks75


Normalized difference vegetation index at Zadoks47


Thousand kernel weight



This work was supported by the CGIAR Generation Challenge Program (GCP, G7010.02.01), National Natural Science Foundation of China (31161140346), International Collaboration in Science and Technology (2014DFG31690), and China Agriculture Research System (CARS-3-1-3).


  1. Abbad H, Jaafari SE, Bort J, Araus JL (2004) Comparison of flag leaf and ear photosynthesis with grain yield of durum wheat under various water conditions and genotypes. Agronomie 24:19–28CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Baenziger M, Edmeades GO, Lafitte HR (1999) Selection for drought tolerance increases maize yields across a range of nitrogen levels. Crop Sci 39:1035–1040CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Barakat MN, Al-Doss AA, Elshafei AA, Moustafa KA (2011) Identification of new microsatellite marker linked to the grain filling rate as indicator for heat tolerance genes in F2 wheat population. Aust J Crop Sci 5:104–110Google Scholar
  4. Barakat MN, Wahba LE, Milad SI (2013) Molecular mapping of QTLs for flag leaf senescence under water stressed conditions in wheat (Triticumaestivum L.). Biol Plant 57:79–84CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Benbella M, Paulsen GM (1998) Efficacy of treatments for delaying senescence of wheat leaves: II. Senescence and grain yield under field conditions. Agron J90:332–338CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bennett D, Reynolds M, Mullan D, Izanloo A, Kuchel H, Langridge P, Schnurbusch T (2012) Detection of two major grain yield QTL in bread wheat (Triticumaestivum L.) under heat, drought and high yield potential environments. Theor Appl Genet 125:1473–1485CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Blake NK, Lanning SP, Martin JM, Sherman JD, Talbert LE (2007) Relationship of flag leaf characteristics to economically important traits in two spring wheat crosses. Crop Sci 47:491–496CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bogard M, Jourdan M, Allard V, Martre P, Perretant MR, Ravel C, Heumez E, Orford S, Snape J, Griffiths S, Gaju O, Foulkes J, LeGouis J (2011) Anthesis date mainly explained correlations between post-anthesis leaf senescence, grain yield, and grain protein concentration in a winter wheat population segregating for flowering time QTLs. J Exp Bot 62:3621–3636CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Borrell AK, Hammer GL, Douglas ACL (2000a) Does maintaining green leaf area in sorghum improve yield under drought? I Leaf growth and senescence. Crop Sci 40:1026–1037CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Borrell AK, Hammer GL, Henzell RG (2000b) Does maintaining green leaf area in sorghum improve yield under drought? II. Dry matter production and yield. Crop Sci 40:1037–1048CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Cha KW, Lee YJ, Koh HJ, Lee BM, Nam YW, Paek NC (2002) Isolation, characterization, and mapping of the stay green mutant in rice. Theor Appl Genet 104:526–532CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Chen J, Liang Y, Hu X, Wang X, Tan F, Zhang H, Ren Z, Luo P (2010) Physiological characterization of wheat cultivars during the grain filling stage under field growing conditions. Acta Physiol Plant 32:875–882CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Chen CC, Han GQ, He HQ, Westcott M (2011) Yield, protein, and remobilization of water soluble carbohydrate and nitrogen of three spring wheat cultivars as influenced by nitrogen input. Agron J 103:786–795CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Christopher JT, Manschadi AM, Hammer G, Borrell AK (2008) Developmental and physiological traits associated with high yield and stay-green phenotype in wheat. Aust J Agr Res 59:354–364CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Cuthbert JL, Somers DJ, Brûlé-Babel AL, Brown PD, Crow GH (2008) Molecular mapping of quantitative trait loci for yield andyield components in spring wheat (TriticumaestivumL.). Theor Appl Genet 117:595–608CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Ercoli L, Lulli L, Mariotti M, Mosani A, Arduini I (2008) Post anthesis dry matter and nitrogen dynamics in durum wheat as affected by nitrogen supply and soil water availability. Eur J Agron 28:138–147CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Foyer CH, Noctor G (2005) Redox homeostasis and antioxidant signaling: a metabolic interface between stress perception and physiological responses. Plant Cell 17:1866–1875CrossRefPubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Galaeva MV, Fayt VI, Chebotar SV, Galaev AV, Sivolap YM (2013) Association of microsatellite loci alleles of the group-5 of chromosomes and the frost resistance of winter wheat. Cytol Genet 47:261–267CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Gentinetta E, Ceppi D, Lepori C, Perico G, Motto M, Salamini F (1986) A major gene for delayed senescence in maize. Pattern of photosynthate accumulation and inheritance. Plant Breed 97:193–203CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Gorny AG, Garczynski S (2002) Genotypic and nutritional dependent variation in water use efficiency and photosynthetic activity of leaves in winter wheat. J Appl Genet 43:145–160PubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Gregersen PL, Culetic A, Boschian L, Krupinska K (2013) Plant senescence and crop productivity. Plant Mol Biol 82:603–622CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Gupta AK, Kaur K, Kaur N (2011) Stem reserve mobilization and sink activity in wheat under drought conditions. Amer J Plant Sci 2:70–77CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Guttieri MJ, Stein RJ, Waters BM (2013) Nutrient partitioning and grain yield of TaNAM-RNAi wheat under abiotic stress. Plant Soil 371:573–591CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Hafsi M, Mechmeche W, Bouamama L, Djekoune A, Zaharieva M, Monneveux P (2000) Flag leaf senescence, as evaluated by numerical image analysis, and its relationship with yield under drought in durum wheat. J Agr Crop Sci 185:275–280CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Institute SAS (2000) SAS user’s guide: statistics. SAS Institute Inc, CaryGoogle Scholar
  26. Jiang GH, He YQ, Xu CG, Li XH, Zhang Q (2004) The geneticbasis of stay-green in rice analyzed in population of dihybrid lines derived from indica by japonica cross. Theor Appl Genet 108:688–698CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Joshi AK, Kumari M, Singh VP, Reddy CM, Kumar S, Rane J, Chand R (2007) Stay green trait: variation, inheritance and its association with spot blotch resistance in spring wheat (Triticum aestivum L.). Euphytica 153:59–71CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Karen H, Subudhi PK, Borrell A, Jordan D, Rosenow D, Nguyen H, Klein P, Klein R, Mullet J (2007) Sorghumstay green QTL individually reduce post-flowering drought-induced leaf senescence. J Exp Bot 58:327–338Google Scholar
  29. Kumar U, Joshi AK, Kumari M, Paliwal R, Kumar S, Röder MS (2010) Identification of QTLs for stay green trait in wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) in the ‘Chirya 3’ & #x00D7; ‘Sonalika’ population. Euphytica 174:437–445CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Li XM, Xiao YG, Chen XM, Xia XC, Wang DS, He ZH, Wang HJ (2014) Identification of QTLs for seedling vigor in winter wheat. Euphytica 198:199–209CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Lopes MS, Reynolds MP (2012) Stay-green in spring wheat can be determined by spectral reflectance measurements (normalized difference vegetation index) independently from phenology. J Exp Bot 63:3789–3798CrossRefPubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. Luo P, Ren Z, Wu X, Zhang H, Zhang H, Feng J (2006) Structural and biochemical mechanism responsible for the stay-green phenotype in common wheat. Chin Sci Bull 51:2595–2603CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Naruoka Y, Sherman JD, Lanning SP, Blake NK, Martin JM, Talbert LE (2012) Genetic analysis of green leaf duration in spring wheat. Crop Sci 52:99–109CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Olivares-Villegas JJ, Reynolds MP, McDonald GK (2007) Drought adaptive attributes in the Seri/Babax hexaploid wheat population. Funct Plant Biol 34:189–203CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Pask AJD, Pietragalla J, Mullan DM, Reynolds MP (2012) Physiological breeding II: a field guide to wheat phenotyping. CIMMYT, MexicoGoogle Scholar
  36. Pinto RS, Reynolds MP, Mathews KL, McIntyre CL, Olivares-Villegas JJ, Chapman SC (2010) Heat and drought adaptive QTL in a wheat population designed to minimize confounding agronomic effects. Theor Appl Genet 121:1001–1021CrossRefPubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  37. Quarrie SA, Steed A, Calestani C, Semikhodskii A, Lebreton C, Chinoy C, Steele N, Pljevljakusić D, Waterman E, Weyen J, Schondelmaier J, Habash DZ, Farmer P, Saker L, Clarkson DT, Abugalieva A, Yessimbekova M, Turuspekov Y, Abugalieva S, Tuberosa R, Sanguineti MC, Hollington PA, Aragués R, Royo A, Dodig D (2005) A high-density genetic map of hexaploid wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) from the cross Chinese Spring × SQ1 and its use to compare QTLs for grain yield across a range of environments. Theor Appl Genet 110:865–880CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  38. Ray DK, Ramankutty N, Mueller ND, West PC, Foley JA (2012) Recent patterns of crop yield growth and stagnation. Nature Comm 3:1293CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Reynolds MP, Ortiz-Monasterio JI, McNab A (2001) Application of physiology in wheat breeding. CIMMYT, MexicoGoogle Scholar
  40. Saleh MS, Al-Doss AA, Elshafei AA, Moustafa KA, Al-Qurainy FH, Barakat MN (2014) Identification of new TRAP markers linked to chlorophyll content, leaf senescence, and cell membrane stability in water-stressed wheat. Biol Plant 58:64–70CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Simon MR (1999) Inheritance of flag-leaf angle, flag-leaf area and flag leaf area duration in four wheat crosses. Theor Appl Genet 98:310–314CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Snape JW, Foulkes MJ, Simmonds J, Leverington M, Fish LJ, Wang Y, Ciavarrella M (2007) Dissecting gene × environmental effects on wheat yields via QTL and physiological analysis. Euphytica 154:401–408CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Somers DJ, Isaac P, Edwards K (2004) A high-density microsatellite consensus map for bread wheat (Triticum aestivum L.). Theor Appl Genet 109:1105–1114CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  44. Sourdille P, Singh S, Cadalen T, Brown-Guedira GL, Gay G, Qi L, Gill BS, Dufour P, Murigneux A, Bernard M (2004) Microsatellite-based deletion bin system for the establishment of genetic-physical map relationship in wheat (Triticum aestivum L.). Funct Integr Genomics 4:12–25CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  45. Spano G, Di Fonzo N, Perrotta C, Platani C, Ronga G, LawlarDW Napier JA, Shewry PR (2003) Physiological characterizationof ‘stay green’ mutant in durum wheat. J ExpBiol 54:1415–1420Google Scholar
  46. Sykorova B, Kuresova G, Daskalova S, Trckova M, Hoyerova K, Raimanova I, Motyka V, Travnickova A, Elliott MC, Kaminek M (2008) Senescence-induced ectopic expression of the A. tumefaciens ipt gene in wheat delays leaf senescence, increases cytokinin content, nitrate influx, and nitrate reductase activity, but does not affect grain yield. J Exp Bot 59:377–387CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  47. Tao YZ, Hanzell RG, Jordan DR, Butler DG, Kelly AM, McIntyre CL (2000) Identification of genomic regions associated with stay green in sorghum by testing RILs inmultiple environments. Theor Appl Genet 100:1225–1232CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Thomas H, Howarth CJ (2000) Five ways to stay green. J Exp Bot 51:329–337CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  49. Thomas H, Smart CM (1993) Crops that stay green. Ann Appl Biol 123:193–219CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Thomas H, OughamHJ WagstaffC, Stead AD (2003) Defining senescence and death. J Exp Bot 54:1127–1132CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  51. Tian F, Gong J, Zhang J, Zhang M, Wang G, Li A, Wang W (2013) Enhanced stability of thylakoid membrane proteins and antioxidant competence contribute to drought stress resistance in the tasg1 wheat stay-green mutant. J Exp Bot 64:1509–1520CrossRefPubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  52. Tian F, Gong J, Wang G, Wang G, Fan Z, Wang W (2012) Improved drought resistance in a wheat stay-green mutant tasg1under field conditions. Biol Plant 56:509–515CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Tóth B, Galiba G, Feher E, Sutka Y, Snape JW (2003) Mapping genes affecting flowering time and frost resistance on chromosome 5B ofwheat. TheorApplGenet 107:509–514Google Scholar
  54. Verma V, Foulkes MJ, Worland AJ, Sylvester-Bradley R, Caligari PDS, Snape JW (2004) Mapping quantitative trait loci for flag leaf senescence as a yield determinant in winter wheat under optimal and drought-stressed environments. Euphytica 135:255–263CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Vijayalakshmi K, Fritz AK, Paulsen GM, Bai G, Pandravada S, Gill BS (2010) Modeling and mapping QTL for senescence-related traits in winter wheat under high temperature. Mol Breeding 26:163–175CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Wang RX, Hai L, Zhang XY, You GX, Yan CS, Xiao SH (2009) QTL mapping for grain filling rate and yield-related traits in RILs of the Chinese winter wheat population Heshangmai 3/Yu8679. Theor Appl Genet 118:313–325CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  57. Wingler A, von Schaewen A, Leegood RC, Lea PJ, Quick WP (1998) Regulation of leaf senescence by cytokinin, sugars, and light. Plant Physiol 116:329–335CrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  58. Wu XY, Kuai BK, Jia JZ, Jing HC (2012) Regulation of leaf senescence and crop genetic improvement. J Integr Plant Biol 54:936–952CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  59. Xu W, Subudhi PK, Crasta OR, Rosenow DT, Mullet JE, Nguyen HT (2000) Molecular mapping for QTLs conferringstay-green in grain sorghum (Sorghum bicolor L. Moench). Genome 43:461–469CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  60. Yang DL, Jing RL, Chang XP, Li W (2007) Quantitative traitloci mapping for chlorophyll fluorescence and associated traits in wheat (Triticum aestivum L.). J Integr Plant Biol 49:646–654CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Zhang CJ, Chen GX, Gao XX, Chu CJ (2006) Photosynthetic decline in flag leaves of two field-grown spring wheat cultivars with different senescence properties. S Afr J Bot 72:15–23CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Zhang SW, Wang CF, Miao F, Zhou CJ, Yao YH, Li GX (2012) Photosynthetic characteristics and its significance of topmost three leaves at fruiting stage in wheat with presenile flag leaf. Acta Agron Sin 38:2258–2266CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xing-Mao Li
    • 1
    • 2
  • Zhong-Hu He
    • 1
    • 3
  • Yong-Gui Xiao
    • 1
  • Xian-Chun Xia
    • 1
  • Richard Trethowan
    • 4
  • Hua-Jun Wang
    • 5
  • Xin-Min Chen
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Institute of Crop Science/National Wheat Improvement CenterChinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS)BeijingChina
  2. 2.Key Laboratory of High Efficiency Water Utilization in Dry Farming RegionGansu Academy of Agricultural SciencesLanzhouChina
  3. 3.CIMMYT China OfficeBeijingChina
  4. 4.Plant Breeding InstituteUniversity of SydneyNarellanAustralia
  5. 5.Gansu Provincial Key Laboratory of Aridland Crop ScienceLanzhouChina

Personalised recommendations