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Identifying genetic markers of wheat (Triticum aestivum) associated with flavor preference using a laboratory mouse model

Alecia M. Kiszonas, Craig F. Morris
Journal of cereal science 2016 v.71 pp. 153-159
Triticum aestivum, animal models, consumer acceptance, covariance, cultivars, flavor, genes, genetic markers, haplotypes, hard white wheat, human health, inbred lines, laboratory animals, mice, nutrients, palatability, phenotype, seeds, soft white wheat, t-test, texture
Whole wheat products provide critical nutrients for human health, but flavor of whole wheat products may hinder consumer acceptance. However, flavor differences among wheat varieties are not well understood. Using a mouse model system, flavor of whole wheat grain was examined using a two-choice feeding system. A bi-parental recombinant inbred line (RIL) population derived from Clark's Cream x NY6432-18 was used for mapping flavor preference. Clark's Cream is a hard white, and NY6432-18 is a soft white wheat. “Yummy” (cv. Diva soft white) and “yucky” (cv. Macon hard white) varieties were used as ‘checks’ for evaluating each RIL. Marker-trait association was performed using the Student's t as a preference phenotype from each check-RIL comparison. Twenty-two significant marker associations were found. Because mice prefer softer kernel texture, the effect of the Puroindoline b haplotype and phenotypic kernel texture were used as covariates in analyses. Twenty-eight markers exhibited significant associations in the two covariate analyses, with an additional five having significant associations in both covariate analyses. The results indicate that there is an identifiable genetic basis for flavor preference independent of kernel texture. Identifying flavor genes in wheat grain may help facilitate the development of varieties with greater palatability for whole-wheat products.