Flowering Time Pathways Underlying Quantitative variation in heading date of wheat

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


The general objective is to extend the analysis of the eps gene located on chromosome 3AS combining molecular and phenotypical strategies to determine the gene’s effect on plant development, adaptation and performance. This is important in order to move from proof of concept experiment in the laboratory to breeding programmes in the field to actually utilize this knowledge and tools to a critical application for meaningfully adaptive wheat breeding in the face of severe agronomic and physiological constraints.
This overall general objective will be reached through the following specific goals:
1. Exploiting existing Near Isogenic Lines (NILs) and recombinants derived from the cross between ‘Avalon’ and ‘Cadenza’ to confirm that a QTL on wheat chromosome 3AS actually controls eps.
2. Detailed evaluation of the effect of the QTL containing the eps region on plant development, adaptation, and performance.
3. Analysis of the expression of key flowering time genes such as Ppd-1, FT, GI, CO and ELF3.
4. Study the genetic interactions of this QTL with other genes including Ppd-1, Vrn-1, and 1DL QTL.
The central hypothesis of the proposed research is that the major eps effect identified on chromosome 3A is likely to mediate its effect on ear emergence via FT. Previously developed genome specific qPCR analysis will be used to study differences in the expression of known flowering time genes between the 3A NILs [1]. The rationale behind this research is based on preliminary data that has demonstrated that the heading time effects mapped around the Xbarc45 marker on chromosome 3A have some of the largest additive effects on “days to heading” explaining up to 25.4% of the phenotypic variation. Alleles conferring earliness were from the variety ‘Avalon’ [2]. At the end of this project there will be the necessary knowledge and tools to understand what components of the network of genes that control flowering time are affected by allelic variation on chromosome 3A.


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Description Better genetic markers for the 3A EPS flowering time gene have been identfied, which can be used for breeding.

The 3A QTL contributed 36.15% of the phenotypic variation in heading date under field conditions in Near Isogenic Lines.

The EPS region also affects vegetative and early reproductive phases.

The flowering time effect of the EPS region is influenced by the length of the vernalisation (cold) treatment in winter wheat. Avalon x Cadenza NIL analysis is unique in the scale of QTL for UK breeding validated.

The 3A work has been followed up with the delivery of a library of isogenic lines which contain validated yield effects.
Exploitation Route Genetic markers and candidate gene/s for the 3A EPS flowering time region. Study of single gene impacts in agriculture from the many precise genetic stocks developed here. Access to the library of Near Isogenic Lines through the germplasm resource unit (GRU).
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Environment

URL http://www.wgin.org.uk/
Description The analysis of Avalon x Cadenza NILs led to their high density genotyping within the defra WGIN project so that breeders and researchers can now select their genomic region of interest in a uniform genetic background well adapted to UK conditions. We have used the material and data generated here to unpick QTL regions and develop new markers for validated yield QTL.
First Year Of Impact 2015
Sector Agriculture, Food and Drink
Impact Types Economic,Policy & public services

Title Central European Wheat Breeding 
Description This is a wiki page used by the informal consortium established at the meeting to share presentations, data, and protocols. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2013 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact It was instrumental if forming the successful ADAPTAWHEAT consortium which won FP7 funding. 
URL http://adaptawheat.wikispaces.com/