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Genetic analysis of drought response of wheat following either chemical desiccation or the use of a rain-out shelter

Tarawneh, Rasha A., Szira, Fruzsina, Monostori, Istvan, Behrens, Annika, Alqudah, Ahmad M., Thumm, Stefanie, Lohwasser, Ulrike, Röder, Marion S., Börner, Andreas, Nagel, Manuela
Journal of applied genetics 2019 v.60 no.2 pp. 137-146
Triticum aestivum, breeding, desiccants, drought, environmental impact, flowering, genes, genetic analysis, genome-wide association study, genotype, germination, landraces, plant height, seed weight, spikelets, spring wheat, water stress
Simulating drought stress during the breeding process has been proposed as a way to select varieties under naturally non-stressful conditions. The aim of the study was to characterise the genetic basis of the response of 111 spring wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) varieties and landraces to chemical desiccation and to rain-out shelter drought. The effect of the rain-out shelter was a 15% reduction in plant height, spike length and thousand seed weight (TSW); in contrast, the desiccant treatment induced a 15% reduction in seed number, a 35–72% loss in TSW and a reduction in subsequent germination of 12%. A genome-wide association analysis revealed 263 significant marker-trait associations (MTAs), of which 246 involved days to anthesis, plant height, spike length, number of spikelets, seed number, TSW and germination from the non-treated plants. Only four and five MTAs involved TSW from plants grown under the rain-out shelter and the chemical desiccation, respectively, and harboured the Sugar-Dependent6 gene. Seven MTAs involved seed number for chemical desiccated plants. Both, chemical desiccation and rain-out shelter drought identified same tolerant genotypes. Concluding, both approaches are suitable to simulate different drought scenarios. However, there was a strong environmental impact for chemical desiccation which may increase the complexity of this tolerance mechanism.