Genetic dissection of grain zinc concentration in spring wheat for mainstreaming biofortification in CIMMYT wheat breeding

Govindan Velu, Ravi Prakash Singh, Leonardo Crespo-Herrera, Philomin Juliana, Susanne Dreisigacker, Ravi Valluru, James Stangoulis, Virinder Singh Sohu, Gurvinder Singh Mavi, Vinod Kumar Mishra, Arun Balasubramaniam, Ravish Chatrath, Vikas Gupta, Gyanendra Pratap Singh, Arun Kumar Joshi

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Wheat is an important staple that acts as a primary source of dietary energy, protein, and essential micronutrients such as iron (Fe) and zinc (Zn) for the world’s population. Approximately two billion people suffer from micronutrient deficiency, thus breeders have crossed high Zn progenitors such as synthetic hexaploid wheat, T. dicoccum, T. spelta, and landraces to generate wheat varieties with competitive yield and enhanced grain Zn that are being adopted by farmers in South Asia. Here we report a genome-wide association study (GWAS) using the wheat Illumina iSelect 90 K Infinitum SNP array to characterize grain Zn concentrations in 330 bread wheat lines. Grain Zn phenotype of this HarvestPlus Association Mapping (HPAM) panel was evaluated across a range of environments in India and Mexico. GWAS analysis revealed 39 marker-trait associations for grain Zn. Two larger effect QTL regions were found on chromosomes 2 and 7. Candidate genes (among them zinc finger motif of transcription-factors and metal-ion binding genes) were associated with the QTL. The linked markers and associated candidate genes identified in this study are being validated in new biparental mapping populations for marker-assisted breeding.

Original languageEnglish
Article number13526
Number of pages10
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018

Bibliographical note

Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.


  • grain zinc
  • genetic dissection
  • biparental mapping
  • marker-assisted breeding


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