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Analysis of agronomic and domestication traits in a durum × cultivated emmer wheat population using a high-density single nucleotide polymorphism-based linkage map

Justin D. Faris, Qijun Zhang, Shiaoman Chao, Zengcui Zhang, Steven S. Xu
Theoretical and applied genetics 2014 v.127 no.11 pp. 2333-2348
Triticum turgidum subsp. dicoccon, Triticum turgidum subsp. durum, agronomic traits, chromosome mapping, domestication, durum wheat, genes, genetic variation, inbred lines, inflorescences, loci, quantitative trait loci, seeds, single nucleotide polymorphism, tetraploidy
KEY MESSAGE : Development of a high-density SNP map and evaluation of QTL shed light on domestication events in tetraploid wheat and the potential utility of cultivated emmer wheat for durum wheat improvement. Cultivated emmer wheat (Triticum turgidum ssp. dicoccum) is tetraploid and considered as one of the eight founder crops that spawned the Agricultural Revolution about 10,000 years ago. Cultivated emmer has non-free-threshing seed and a somewhat fragile rachis, but mutations in genes governing these and other agronomic traits occurred that led to the formation of today’s fully domesticated durum wheat (T. turgidum ssp. durum). Here, we evaluated a population of recombinant inbred lines (RILs) derived from a cross between a cultivated emmer accession and a durum wheat variety. A high-density single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP)-based genetic linkage map consisting of 2,593 markers was developed for the identification of quantitative trait loci. The major domestication gene Q had profound effects on spike length and compactness, rachis fragility, and threshability as expected. The cultivated emmer parent contributed increased spikelets per spike, and the durum parent contributed higher kernel weight, which led to the identification of some RILs that had significantly higher grain weight per spike than either parent. Threshability was governed not only by the Q locus, but other loci as well including Tg-B1 on chromosome 2B and a putative Tg-A1 locus on chromosome 2A indicating that mutations in the Tg loci occurred during the transition of cultivated emmer to the fully domesticated tetraploid. These results not only shed light on the events that shaped wheat domestication, but also demonstrate that cultivated emmer is a useful source of genetic variation for the enhancement of durum varieties.