Optimising wheat grain shape for improved processing quality

Lead Research Organisation: Biomathematics and Statistics Scotland
Department Name: UNLISTED

Abstract

This programme aims to optimise end user quality traits in wheat and barley. Milling yield is dependent on size and shape of grains and on the proportion of endosperm to the other tissues in the grain. The recessed ventral groove of wheat is a particular obstacle to the efficient extraction of the white flour and the adoption of new de-branning technology in UK mills has further increased the importance of crease morphology. For barley, a short, fat grain is desirable to assist water uptake and rapid starch mobilisation during malting. We will use forward and reverse genetics approaches combined with knowledge of seed development in model systems to improve our understanding of grain size and shape. This programme involves the major laboratories presently engaged in research in grain and seed development in the UK, together with a leading group working on milling technology allowing the benefits of altered grain shape to milling yield and malting quality to be assessed. We have shown that UK wheat varieties differ in grain morphology and will extend our analysis to broader germplasm including T. aestivum sphaerococcum which has rounded grains and a reduced crease. Introgression of the 'sphaerococcum' phenotype into elite UK material will allow the effects on de-branning and milling yield to be determined. The segregation of QTLs for grain shape will be studied in different populations to identify linked markers. We will also map and identify genes that may be controlling a similar (globosum) phenotype in barley. Our work in the model species Arabidopsis and maize is resolving the processes and genes that are involved in cell proliferation and differentiation in the endosperm. We hypothesise that cereal orthologues of these genes may underlie QTLs for grain size and shape. The expression of selected candidates will be altered in transgenic wheat or through TILLING in barley and an assessment of grain morphology and quality traits compared to parental lines.

Technical Summary

This programme aims to optimise end user quality traits in wheat and barley. Milling yield is dependent on size and shape of grains and on the proportion of endosperm to the other tissues in the grain. The recessed ventral groove of wheat is a particular obstacle to the efficient extraction of the white flour and the adoption of new de-branning technology in UK mills has further increased the importance of crease morphology. For barley, a short, fat grain is desirable to assist water uptake and rapid starch mobilisation during malting. We will use forward and reverse genetics approaches combined with knowledge of seed development in model systems to improve our understanding of grain size and shape. This programme involves the major laboratories presently engaged in research in grain and seed development in the UK, together with a leading group working on milling technology allowing the benefits of altered grain shape to milling yield and malting quality to be assessed. We have shown that UK wheat varieties differ in grain morphology and will extend our analysis to broader germplasm including T. aestivum sphaerococcum which has rounded grains and a reduced crease. Introgression of the 'sphaerococcum' phenotype into elite UK material will allow the effects on de-branning and milling yield to be determined. The segregation of QTLs for grain shape will be studied in different populations to identify linked markers. We will also map and identify genes that may be controlling a similar (globosum) phenotype in barley. Our work in the model species Arabidopsis and maize is resolving the processes and genes that are involved in cell proliferation and differentiation in the endosperm. We hypothesise that cereal orthologues of these genes may underlie QTLs for grain size and shape. The expression of selected candidates will be altered in transgenic wheat or through TILLING in barley and an assessment of grain morphology and quality traits compared to parental lines.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description We discovered that a number of regions (genes) on the barley genome contribute to grain size and shape. We developed three segregating populations for each of 5 different 'globosum' mutants and mapped them roughly by genotyping sets of nearly isogenic lines. All of the resources remain available for exploitation however unfortunately the staff carrying out the work have left the organisation and not been replaced.
Exploitation Route Resources are available to locate and clone genes involved in determining grain shape in barley.
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink

 
Description We used barley mutants with Globe shaped grain to develop segregating populations and mapped the location of the genes conferring this phenotype on the barley genetic map. The data have not yet been submitted for publication and need further data before this will be a possibility. Unfortunately the original SCRI PI on this grant left the organisation 2/3 of the way through this award and RW picked up the leadership responsibility. The available resources generated during this program and existing data is currently ripe for exploitation
Sector Agriculture, Food and Drink
 
Title segregating populations 
Description We developed 15 populations segregating for 5 globosum mutant alleles. Globosum mutants have altered grain size/shape. We generated preliminary mapping data for the location of 5 globosum genes. Populations remain available for exploitation. 
Type Of Material Biological samples 
Year Produced 2010 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Location of genes in barley affecting grain shape/size.