Genomic selection can accelerate the biofortification of spring wheat

Reem Joukhadar, Rebecca Thistlethwaite, Richard M. Trethowan, Matthew J. Hayden, James Stangoulis, Suong Cu, Hans D. Daetwyler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Key message: Genomic selection enabled accurate prediction for the concentration of 13 nutritional element traits in wheat. Abstract: Wheat biofortification is one of the most sustainable strategies to alleviate mineral deficiency in human diets. Here, we investigated the potential of genomic selection using BayesR and Bayesian ridge regression (BRR) models to predict grain yield (YLD) and the concentration of 13 nutritional elements in grains (B, Ca, Co, Cu, Fe, K, Mg, Mn, Mo, Na, Ni, P and Zn) using a population of 1470 spring wheat lines. The lines were grown in replicated field trials with two times of sowing (TOS) at 3 locations (Narrabri-NSW, all lines; Merredin-WA and Horsham-VIC, 200 core lines). Narrow-sense heritability across environments (locations/TOS) ranged from 0.09 to 0.45. Co, K, Na and Ca showed low to negative genetic correlations with other traits including YLD, while the remaining traits were negatively correlated with YLD. When all environments were included in the reference population, medium to high prediction accuracy was observed for the different traits across environments. BayesR had higher average prediction accuracy for mineral concentrations (r = 0.55) compared to BRR (r = 0.48) across all traits and environments but both methods had comparable accuracies for YLD. We also investigated the utility of one or two locations (reference locations) to predict the remaining location(s), as well as the ability of one TOS to predict the other. Under these scenarios, BayesR and BRR showed comparable performance but with lower prediction accuracy compared to the scenario of predicting reference environments for new lines. Our study demonstrates the potential of genomic selection for enriching wheat grain with nutritional elements in biofortification breeding.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3339-3350
Number of pages12
JournalTheoretical and Applied Genetics
Issue number10
Early online date12 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021


  • biofortification
  • spring wheat
  • human diets
  • mineral deficiency
  • genomic selection
  • grain yield
  • environments
  • population


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