Control of infertility in wheat by phenotype screening and genetic analysis of varieties and breeding lines

Lead Research Organisation: John Innes Centre
Department Name: Contracts Office


Environmentally induced infertility in wheat is a serious threat to yield. The low yields of the variety 'Moulin' in the mid 1980's are an example of the problem, which is still detected in plant breeding programmes. Vulnerability to infertility is difficult to eliminate because very little is known about its genetic basis. To address this we will exploit the availability of doubled haploid populations made form parents with high or low vulnerability. These lines will be field tested in sites known to reliably induce infertility. Five diverse crosses will be used to identify QTL. A primary aim is to determine if there is a common underlying cause or several distinct causes. It is essential to know this in order to develop a coherent strategy for tackling the problem.
Once QTL are identified, linked markers will be used to assess whether infertility in a collection 94 additional varieties and breeders' lines can be predicted. This provides QTL validation, which will also be tested using advanced breeding lines provided by the companies.
The results will enable new testing regimes to be devised and will provide assays for marker assisted selection than will reduce the risk of inferitlity related yield losses in UK wheat.


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