BACKGROUND: TaGW2-6A, cloned in earlier research, strongly influences wheat grain width and TKW. Here, we mainly analyzed haplotypes of TaGW2-6B and their effects on TKW and interaction with haplotypes at TaGW2-6A.<br /><br />RESULTS: About 2.9 kb of the promoter sequences of TaGW2-6B and TaGW2-6D were cloned in 34 bread wheat cultivars. Eleven SNPs were detected in the promoter region of TaGW2-6B, forming 4 haplotypes, but no divergence was detected in the TaGW2-6D promoter or coding region. Three molecular markers including CAPS, dCAPS and ACAS, were developed to distinguish the TaGW2-6B haplotypes. Haplotype association analysis indicated that TaGW2-6B has a stronger influence than TaGW2-6A on TKW, and Hap-6B-1 was a favored haplotype increasing grain width and weight that had undergone strong positive selection in global wheat breeding. However, clear geographic distribution differences for TaGW2-6A haplotypes were found; Hap-6A-A was favored in Chinese, Australian and Russian cultivars, whereas Hap-6A-G was preferred in European, American and CIMMYT cultivars. This difference might be caused by a flowering and maturity time difference between the two haplotypes. Hap-6A-A is the earlier type. Haplotype interaction analysis between TaGW2-6A and TaGW2-6B showed additive effects between the favored haplotypes. Hap-6A-A/Hap-6B-1 was the best combination to increase TKW. Relative expression analysis of the three TaGW2 homoeologous genes in 22 cultivars revealed that TaGW2-6A underwent the highest expression. TaGW2-6D was the least expressed during grain development and TaGW2-6B was intermediate. Diversity of the three genes was negatively correlated with their effect on TKW.<br /><br />CONCLUSIONS: Genetic effects, expression patterns and historic changes of haplotypes at three homoeologous genes of TaGW2 influencing yield were dissected in wheat cultivars. Strong and constant selection to favored haplotypes has been found in global wheat breeding during the past century. This research also provides a valuable case for understanding interaction of genes that control complex traits in polyploid species.
Qin, L., Hao, C., Hou, J., Wang, Y., Li, T., Wang, L., … Zhang, X. (2014). Homologous haplotypes, expression, genetic effects and geographic distribution of the wheat yield gene TaGW2. BMC Plant Biology, 14(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2229-14-107