Genome Wide Association Study Uncovers the QTLome for Osmotic Adjustment and Related Drought Adaptive Traits in Durum Wheat
AffiliationMaricopa Agricultural Center, University of Arizona
Department of Environmental Science, University of Arizona
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CitationCondorell, G. E., Newcomb, M., Groli, E. L., Maccaferri, M., Forestan, C., Babaeian, E., Tuller, M., White, J. W., Ward, R., Mockler, T., Shakoor, N., & Tuberosa, R. (2022). Genome Wide Association Study Uncovers the QTLome for Osmotic Adjustment and Related Drought Adaptive Traits in Durum Wheat. Genes.
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AbstractOsmotic adjustment (OA) is a major component of drought resistance in crops. The genetic basis of OA in wheat and other crops remains largely unknown. In this study, 248 field-grown durum wheat elite accessions grown under well-watered conditions, underwent a progressively severe drought treatment started at heading. Leaf samples were collected at heading and 17 days later. The following traits were considered: flowering time (FT), leaf relative water content (RWC), osmotic potential (ψs), OA, chlorophyll content (SPAD), and leaf rolling (LR). The high variability (3.89-fold) in OA among drought-stressed accessions resulted in high repeatability of the trait (h2 = 72.3%). Notably, a high positive correlation (r = 0.78) between OA and RWC was found under severe drought conditions. A genome-wide association study (GWAS) revealed 15 significant QTLs (Quantitative Trait Loci) for OA (global R2 = 63.6%), as well as eight major QTL hotspots/clusters on chromosome arms 1BL, 2BL, 4AL, 5AL, 6AL, 6BL, and 7BS, where a higher OA capacity was positively associated with RWC and/or SPAD, and negatively with LR, indicating a beneficial effect of OA on the water status of the plant. The comparative analysis with the results of 15 previous field trials conducted under varying water regimes showed concurrent effects of five OA QTL cluster hotspots on normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), thousand-kernel weight (TKW), and/or grain yield (GY). Gene content analysis of the cluster regions revealed the presence of several candidate genes, including bidi-rectional sugar transporter SWEET, rhomboid-like protein, and S-adenosyl-L-methionine-dependent methyltransferases superfamily protein, as well as DREB1. Our results support OA as a valuable proxy for marker-assisted selection (MAS) aimed at enhancing drought resistance in wheat. © 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
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Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as Copyright © 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).