Front Plant Sci. 2022 Jul 22;13:895742. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2022.895742. eCollection 2022.
Wheat is highly sensitive to temperature beyond the optimum. To improve wheat adaptation to heat stress, the best option is to exploit the diversity of wild wheat progenitors. This study aimed to identify germplasm and quantitative trait loci associated with heat stress tolerance from wild emmer wheat diversity. We evaluated a diverse set of multiple derivative lines harboring chromosome segments from nine wild emmer wheat parents under four environments: two optimum environments at Tottori, Japan and Dongola, Sudan, one moderate heat stress environment, and one severe heat stress environment at Wad Medani, Sudan. Genome-wide association analysis was conducted with 13,312 SNP markers. Strong marker-trait associations (MTAs) were identified for chlorophyll content at maturity on chromosomes 1A and 5B: these MTAs explained 28.8 and 26.8% of the variation, respectively. A region on chromosome 3A (473.7-638.4 Mbp) contained MTAs controlling grain yield, under optimum and severe heat stress. Under severe heat stress, regions on chromosomes 3A (590.4-713.3 Mbp) controlled grain yield, biomass, days to maturity and thousand kernel weight, and on 3B (744.0-795.2 Mbp) grain yield and biomass. Heat tolerance efficiency (HTE) was controlled by three MTAs, one each on chromosomes 2A, 2B, and 5A under moderate heat stress and one MTA on chromosome 3A under severe heat stress. Some of the MTAs found here were previously reported, but the new ones originated from the wild emmer wheat genomes. The favorable alleles identified from wild emmer wheat were absent or rare in the elite durum wheat germplasm being bred for heat stress tolerance. This study provides potential genetic materials, alleles, MTAs, and quantitative trait loci for enhancing wheat adaptation to heat stress. The derivative lines studied here could be investigated to enhance other stress tolerance such as drought and salinity.