Contrasting Ppd alleles in wheat: effects on sensitivity to photoperiod in different phases
Abstract Photoperiod sensitivity is an important feature of flowering time regulation, which enables wheat plants to adapt to a wide range of environments. Although some work has been done on how time to heading or flowering respond to photoperiod in relation to particular Ppd alleles, there is little evidence on whether these alleles contribute to responses at different phases and to associated yield component generation. The aims of this paper were: (i) to analyse the effects of photoperiod on substitution lines with contrasting Ppd alleles, in terms of duration of particular phases, (ii) to determine if there is any relationship between these alleles and the parameters of photoperiod response (photoperiod sensitivity, optimum photoperiod and basic length of the phase), and (iii) to analyse the effects of different photoperiods applied before and after the onset of terminal spikelet on yield component generation. The effects of length and timing of photoperiod extensions on these traits were analysed under field conditions in Chinese Spring and two substitution lines differing in photoperiod sensitivity. Although time to anthesis was similar in the three genotypes in photoperiods longer than 14.5 h, they did differ in their response to photoperiod in particular phases. Sensitivity to photoperiod for daylengths shorter than 14.5 h was also markedly different. The number of leaves generated was affected by photoperiod, determining the duration of the phase from emergence to floral initiation (EM-FI). The length of the phase from floral initiation to terminal spikelet (FI-TS) was determined by the number of spikelets generated and their rate of initiation, which was also affected by photoperiod. The terminal spikelet to anthesis phase (TS-ANT) was only affected by photoperiod in the most sensitive genotype, in which direct photoperiod effects, other than the effects on leaf number and phyllochron, were evident. There was no apparent relation between photoperiod response parameters such as basic length of the phase (Lb) and optimum photoperiod (Po) and particular Ppd alleles.