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Increased pericarp cell length underlies a major QTL for grain weight in hexaploid wheat

Published on Mar 17, 2017in bioRxiv
· DOI :10.1101/117937
Jemima Brinton4
Estimated H-index: 4
(Norwich Research Park),
James Simmonds21
Estimated H-index: 21
(Norwich Research Park)
+ 3 AuthorsCristobal Uauy45
Estimated H-index: 45
(Norwich Research Park)
Abstract
Crop yields must increase to address food insecurity. Grain weight, determined by grain length and width, is an important yield component, but our understanding of the underlying genes and mechanisms is limited. We used genetic mapping and near isogenic lines (NILs) to identify, validate and fine map a major quantitative trait loci (QTL) on wheat chromosome 5A associated with grain weight. Detailed phenotypic characterisation of developing and mature grains from the NILs was performed. We identified a stable and robust QTL associated with a 6.9 % increase in grain weight. The positive interval leads to 4.0 % longer grains, with differences first visible twelve days post fertilization. This grain length effect was fine-mapped to a 4.3 cM interval. The locus also has a pleiotropic effect on grain width (1.5 %) during late grain development that determines the relative magnitude of the grain weight increase. Positive NILs have increased maternal pericarp cell length, an effect which is independent of absolute grain length. These results provide direct genetic evidence that pericarp cell length affects final grain size and weight in polyploid wheat. We propose that combining genes which control distinct biological mechanisms, such as cell expansion and proliferation, will enhance crop yields.
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References58
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Advances in genome sequencing and assembly technologies are generating many high-quality genome sequences, but assemblies of large, repeat-rich polyploid genomes, such as that of bread wheat, remain fragmented and incomplete. We have generated a new wheat whole-genome shotgun sequence assembly using a combination of optimized data types and an assembly algorithm designed to deal with large and complex genomes. The new assembly represents >78% of the genome with a scaffold N50 of 88.8 kb that has...
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Advances in wheat genomics have lagged behind other major cereals ( e.g. , rice and maize) due to its highly repetitive and large polyploid genome. Recent technological developments in sequencing and assembly methods, however, have largely overcome these barriers. The community now moves to an era centred on functional characterisation of the genome. This includes understanding sequence and structural variation as well as how information is integrated across multiple homoeologous genomes. This u...
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