Improvement of Wheat Protein Quality and Quantity by Breeding
Substantial genetic variability for grain protein content in wheat has been identified. In appropriate combinations known genes can increase protein content of wheat grain by 5 percentage points. Productive high protein experimental lines with good agronomic traits and satisfactory processing attributes have been identified. A high protein hard red winter variety developed in Nebraska was released for commercial production in 1975 under the name “Lancota”. The high protein of Lancota resides entirely in the starchy endosperm portion of the kernel and is fully transmissible to white milled flour. The high protein of Lancota results from elevated NO3 reductase activity, increased N-absorption by the roots, and more complete translocation of N to the grain. Despite strong environmental influence on wheat protein level, genes for high protein have been demonstrated to effectively increase protein content in many different production environments. Lysine % of protein decreases but lysine % of grain increases as protein is increased. Genetic variability for lysine of sufficient magnitude to overcome the normal depression of lysine % of protein as protein is increased has been uncovered. Experimental lines have been developed in the ARS-Nebraska program in which genes for high protein and high lysine were combined. The lines have been widely distributed for use in other breeding programs.
KeywordsHigh Protein Common Wheat Lysine Content Wheat Protein Starchy Endosperm
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