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Genetic insights into morphometric inflorescence traits of wheat

Wolde, Gizaw M., Trautewig, Corinna, Mascher, Martin, Schnurbusch, Thorsten
Theoretical and applied genetics 2019 v.132 no.6 pp. 1661-1676
Triticum turgidum, alleles, flowering date, grain yield, heading, heat sums, heritability, inbred lines, internode length, loci, meristems, morphometry, mutants, parents, phenotype, phenotypic correlation, phenotypic variation, quantitative trait loci, spikelets, tetraploidy, wheat
KEY MESSAGE: Modifying morphometric inflorescence traits is important for increasing grain yield in wheat. Mapping revealed nine QTL, including new QTL and a new allele for the q locus, controlling wheat spike morphometric traits. To identify loci controlling spike morphometric traits, namely spike length (SL), internode length (IL), node number per spike (NPS), and node density (ND), we studied 146 Recombinant Inbred Lines of tetraploid wheat (Triticum turgidum L.) derived from standard spike and spike-branching mutant parents. Phenotypic analyses of spike morphometric traits showed low genetic coefficients of variation, resulting in high heritabilities. The phenotypic correlation between NPS with growing degree days (GDD) suggested the importance of GDD in the determination of node number in wheat. The major effect QTL for GDD or heading date was mapped to chromosome 7BS carrying the flowering time gene, Vrn3-B1. Mapping also identified nine QTL controlling spike morphometric traits. Most of these loci controlled more than a single trait, suggesting a close genetic interrelationship among spike morphometric traits. For example, this study identified a new QTL, QND.ipk-4AL, controlling ND (up to 17.6% of the phenotypic variance), IL (up to 11% of the phenotypic variance), and SL (up to 20.8% of the phenotypic variance). Similarly, the major effect QTL for IL was mapped to the q locus. Sequencing of the Q/q gene further revealed a new q allele, qᵈᵉˡ-5A, in spike-branching accessions possessing a six base pair deletion close to the miR172 target site. The identification of qᵈᵉˡ-5A suggested that the spike-branching tetraploid wheats are double mutants for the spikelet meristem (SM) identity gene, i.e., branched headᵗ (TtBHᵗ), and the q gene, which is believed to be involved in the SM indeterminacy complex in wheat.