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Genetic variation for shoot elongation before winter and its correlation with vernalization requirement in winter oilseed rape (Brassica napus L.)

Ghanbari, Mohammad, Möllers, Christian
Euphytica 2018 v.214 no.10 pp. 186
Brassica napus, abiotic stress, autumn, bolting, breeding lines, breeding programs, climatic factors, cultivars, drought, field experimentation, flower buds, frost, frost resistance, genetic variation, genotype, heat, heritability, plant breeding, spring, vernalization, winter, winter hardiness, Northern European region
Changing climatic conditions in north-western Europe are accompanied by occasional extreme weather conditions. This requires breeding of winter oilseed rape cultivars which are resilient to diverse abiotic stress factors, e.g. frost, drought and heat. The degree of vernalization requirement of winter oilseed rape has been found to be related to frost tolerance and winter hardiness. Shoot elongation before winter in particular has been identified as one decisive factor for frost tolerance in winter oilseed rape. However, the relationship between vernalization requirement and shoot elongation before winter is not known. In the present study the genetic variation for shoot elongation before winter and vernalization requirement of 19 genetic diverse breeding lines and cultivars were analyzed. Autumn and spring sown field experiments in multiple environments were performed to determine shoot elongation before winter and vernalization requirement, respectively. In spring sown field experiments, genotypes with a low vernalization requirement were characterized by the occurrence of long bolting plants with flower buds. Large and significant genotypic variation was found for shoot length in the autumn sown and spring sown environment. Broad sense heritability was quite high for shoot length in the spring sown environment (h² = 97%), whereas it was only of medium size for shoot length before winter (h² = 62%). Although the correlation between shoot length before winter and shoot length in the spring sown environment was positive (Spearman’s rank rS = 0.48*), a number of genotypes with reduced shoot elongation before winter and low vernalization requirement were identified. Results indicate that genotypes with a reduced shoot elongation before winter independent of their vernalization requirement can be selected in breeding programs.