Genome-wide association analyses identify QTL hotspots for yield and component traits in durum wheat grown under yield potential, drought, and heat stress environments

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Abstract

Understanding the genetic bases of economically important traits is fundamentally important in enhancing genetic gains in durum wheat. In this study, a durum panel of 208 lines (comprised of elite materials and exotics from the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center gene bank) were subjected to genome wide association study (GWAS) using 6,211 DArTseq single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). The panel was phenotyped under yield potential (YP), drought stress (DT), and heat stress (HT) conditions for two years. Mean yield of the panel was reduced by 72% (to 1.64 t/ha) under HT and by 60% (to 2.33 t/ha) under DT, compared to YP (5.79 t/ha). Whereas, the mean yield of the panel under HT was 30% less than under DT. GWAS identified the largest number of significant marker-trait associations on chromosomes 2A and 2B with p-values 10-06 to 10-03 and the markers from the whole study explained 7 to 25% variation in the traits. Common markers were identified for stress tolerance indices: stress susceptibility index, stress tolerance, and stress tolerance index estimated for the traits under DT (82 cM on 2B) and HT (68 and 83 cM on 3B; 25 cM on 7A). GWAS of irrigated (YP and HT combined), stressed (DT and HT combined), combined analysis of three environments (YP + DT + HT), and its comparison with trait per se and stress indices identified QTL hotspots on chromosomes 2A (54 to 70 cM) and 2B (75 to 82 cM). This study enhances our knowledge about the molecular markers associated with grain yield and its components under different stress conditions. It identifies several marker-trait associations for further exploration and validation for marker-assisted breeding.

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Sukumaran, S., Reynolds, M. P., & Sansaloni, C. (2018). Genome-wide association analyses identify QTL hotspots for yield and component traits in durum wheat grown under yield potential, drought, and heat stress environments. Frontiers in Plant Science, 9. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpls.2018.00081

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