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Grain yield and adaptation of spring wheat to Norwegian growing conditions is driven by allele frequency changes at key adaptive loci discovered by genome wide association mapping
Monday, 2023/09/18 | 08:01:30

Tomasz Mroz, Jon Arne Dieseth, Morten Lillemo

Theoretical and Applied Genetics; September 2023; vol.136; Article 19.

Key message

Adaptation to the Norwegian environment is associated with polymorphisms in the Vrn-A1 locus. Historical selection for grain yield in Nordic wheat is associated with TaGS5-3A and TaCol-5 loci.


Grain yields in Norwegian spring wheat increased by 18 kg ha−1 per year between 1972 and 2019 due to introduction of new varieties. These gains were associated with increments in the number of grains per spike and extended length of the vegetative period. However, little is known about the genetic background of this progress. To fill this gap, we conducted genome-wide association study on a panel consisting of both adapted (historical and current varieties and lines in the Nordics) and important not adapted accessions used as parents in the Norwegian wheat breeding program. The study concerned grain yield, plant height, and heading and maturity dates, and detected 12 associated loci, later validated using independent sets of recent breeding lines. Adaptation to the Norwegian cropping conditions was found to be associated with the Vrn-A1 locus, and a previously undescribed locus on chromosome 1B associated with heading date. Two loci associated with grain yield, corresponding to the TaGS5-3A and TaCol-5 loci, indicated historical selection pressure for high grain yield. A locus on chromosome 2A explained the tallness of the oldest accessions. We investigated the origins of the beneficial alleles associated with the wheat breeding progress in the Norwegian material, tracing them back to crosses with Swedish, German, or CIMMYT lines. This study contributes to the understanding of wheat adaptation to the Norwegian growing conditions, sheds light on the genetic basis of historical wheat improvement and aids future breeding efforts by discovering loci associated with important agronomic traits in wheat.


See https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00122-023-04424-9

Fig. 1: Phenotypic differences among the genotypes due to line adaptation in a days to heading, b days to maturity, c grain yield, and d plant height. Groups with the same letter are not significantly different (HSD test, α = 0.05). A adapted, E exotic lines; n number of records in the group, avg average phenotype value in the group


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