Validation of Candidate Gene-Based Markers and Identification of Novel Loci for Thousand-Grain Weight in Spring Bread Wheat
Increased thousand-grain weight (TGW) is an important breeding target for indirectly improving grain yield (GY). Fourteen reported candidate genes known to enhance TGW were evaluated in two independent and existing datasets of wheat at CIMMYT, the Elite Yield Trial (EYT) from 2015 to 2016 (EYT2015-16) and the Wheat Association Mapping Initiative (WAMI) panel, to study their allele effects on TGW and to verify their suitability for marker-assisted selection. Of these, significant associations were detected for only one gene (TaGs3-D1) in the EYT2015-16 and two genes (TaTGW6 and TaSus1) in WAMI. The reported favorable alleles of TaGs3-D1 and TaTGW6 genes decreased TGW in the datasets. A haplotype-based genome wide association study was implemented to identify the genetic determinants of TGW on a large set of CIMMYT germplasm (4,302 lines comprising five EYTs), which identified 15 haplotype blocks to be significantly associated with TGW. Four of them, identified on chromosomes 4A, 6A, and 7A, were associated with TGW in at least three EYTs. The locus on chromosome 6A (Hap-6A-13) had the largest effect on TGW and additionally GY with increases of up to 2.60 g and 258 kg/ha, respectively. Discovery of novel TGW loci described in our study expands the opportunities for developing diagnostic markers and for multi-gene pyramiding to derive new allele combinations for enhanced TGW and GY in CIMMYT wheat.
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