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Genetic architecture of male fertility restoration of Triticum timopheevii cytoplasm and fine-mapping of the major restorer locus Rf3 on chromosome 1B

Würschum, Tobias, Leiser, Willmar L., Weissmann, Sigrid, Maurer, Hans Peter
Theoretical and applied genetics 2017 v.130 no.6 pp. 1253-1266
Triticum timopheevii, breeding, chromosome translocation, cytoplasm, cytoplasmic male sterility, females, heritability, hybrids, loci, males, parents, phenotype, pollen, quantitative trait loci, seed set, staining, triticale, variance, wheat
KEY MESSAGE: Restoration of fertility in the cytoplasmic male sterility-inducing Triticum timopheevii cytoplasm can be achieved with the major restorer locus Rf3 located on chromosome 1B, but is also dependent on modifier loci. Hybrid breeding relies on a hybrid mechanism enabling a cost-efficient hybrid seed production. In wheat and triticale, cytoplasmic male sterility based on the T. timopheevii cytoplasm is commonly used, and the aim of this study was to dissect the genetic architecture underlying fertility restoration. Our study was based on two segregating F₂ triticale populations with 313 and 188 individuals that share a common female parent and have two different lines with high fertility restoration ability as male parents. The plants were cloned to enable replicated assessments of their phenotype and fertility restoration was evaluated based on seed set or staining for pollen fertility. The traits showed high heritabilities but their distributions differed between the two populations. In one population, a quarter of the lines were sterile, conforming to a 3:1 segregation ratio. QTL mapping identified two and three QTL in these populations, with the major QTL being detected on chromosome 1B. This QTL was collinear in both populations and likely corresponds to Rf3. We found that Rf3 explained approximately 30 and 50% of the genotypic variance, has a dominant mode of inheritance, and that the female parent lacks this locus, probably due to a 1B.1R translocation. Taken together, Rf3 is a major restorer locus that enables fertility restoration of the T. timopheevii cytoplasm, but additional modifier loci are needed for full restoration of male fertility. Consequently, Rf3 holds great potential for hybrid wheat and triticale breeding, but other loci must also be considered, either through marker-assisted or phenotypic selection.