QTL Mapping of Grain Zn and Fe Concentrations in Two Hexaploid Wheat RIL Populations with Ample Transgressive Segregation

Leonardo A. Crespo-Herrera, Velu Govindan, James Stangoulis, Yuanfeng Hao, Ravi P. Singh

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More than 50% of undernourished children live in Asia and more than 25% live in Africa. Coupled with an inadequate food supply, mineral deficiencies are widespread in these populations; particularly zinc (Zn) and iron (Fe) deficiencies that lead to retarded growth, adverse effects on both the immune systemand an individual’s cognitive abilities. Biofortification is one solution aimed at reducing the incidence of these deficiencies. To efficiently breed a biofortified wheat variety, it is important to generate knowledge of the genomic regions associated with grain Zn (GZn) and Fe (GFe) concentration. This allows for the introgression of favorable alleles into elite germplasm. In this study we evaluated two bi-parental populations of 188 recombinant inbred lines (RILs) displaying a significant range of transgressive segregation for GZn and GFe during three crop cycles in CIMMYT, Mexico. Parents of the RILs were derived from Triticum spelta L. and synthetic hexaploid wheat crosses. QTL analysis identified a number of significant QTL with a region denominated as QGZn.cimmyt-7B_1P2 on chromosome 7B explaining the largest (32.7%) proportion of phenotypic variance (PVE) for GZn and leading to an average additive effect of -1.3. The QTL with the largest average additive effect for GFe (-0.161) was found on chromosome 4A (QGFe.cimmyt-4A_P2), with 21.14% of the PVE. The region QGZn.cimmyt-7B_1P2 co-localized closest to the region QGZn.cimmyt-7B_1P1 in a consensus map built from the linkage maps of both populations. Pleiotropic or tightly linked QTL were also found on chromosome 3B, however of minor effects and PVE between 4.3 and 10.9%. Further efforts are required to utilize the QTL information in marker assisted backcrossing schemes for wheat biofortification. A strategy to follow is to intercross the transgressive individuals from both populations and then utilize them as sources in biofortification breeding pipelines.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1800
Number of pages12
JournalFrontiers in Plant Science
Publication statusPublished - 18 Oct 2017


  • Grain Fe
  • Grain Zn
  • QTL mapping
  • Transgressive segregation
  • Wheat biofortification


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