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Developing standardized methods for breeding preharvest sprouting resistant wheat, challenges and successes in Canadian wheat

DePauw, R. M., Knox, R. E., Singh, A. K., Fox, S. L., Humphreys, D. G., Hucl, P.
Euphytica 2012 v.188 no.1 pp. 7-14
Triticum aestivum, breeding methods, cultivars, durum wheat, falling number, field experimentation, genetic markers, genetic resistance, germination, grain yield, inheritance (genetics), loci, planting seed, seed dormancy, seeds, spring wheat, sprouting, viability, weathering, Canada
Preharvest sprouting (PHS) in spring wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) and durum wheat (T. turgidum L. var durum) causes significant economic losses due to a reduction in grain yield, grain functionality and viability of seed for planting. Average annual estimated losses in Canada are about $100 million. Genetic resistance to PHS reduces these losses. Development of PHS resistant cultivars is complicated by the effects of factors under genetic control, such as spike morphology, seed dormancy, environment, and kernel diseases. Resistance to PHS has been a breeding priority since the late 1960s. Development of RL4137, which is the primary source of PHS resistance in the Canada Western Red Spring market class, has led to cultivar improvements. A white-seeded derivative of RL4137 is the primary source of PHS in the Canada Prairie Spring White and Canada Western Hard White Spring wheat market classes. Procedures to select for PHS resistance vary among breeding programs, market classes and by degree of inbreeding. Methods include artificial sprouting of intact spikes, germination tests, natural weathering in field trials, artificial weathering trials, and indirect assessment of sprouting by measuring Hagberg falling number. Although many genetic loci have been attributed to preharvest sprouting resistance, application of molecular markers is currently limited due to the complex inheritance of the trait. In Canada, cultivars are characterized for their relative level of PHS resistance and the information is made available to producers.