Unlocking the molecular basis of wheat straw composition and morphological traits through multi-locus GWAS

BMC Plant Biol. 2022 Nov 8;22(1):519. doi: 10.1186/s12870-022-03900-6.

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Rapid reductions in emissions from fossil fuel burning are needed to curb global climate change. Biofuel production from crop residues can contribute to reducing the energy crisis and environmental deterioration. Wheat is a renewable source for biofuels owing to the low cost and high availability of its residues. Thus, identifying candidate genes controlling these traits is pivotal for efficient biofuel production. Here, six multi-locus genome-wide association (ML-GWAS) models were applied using 185 tetraploid wheat accessions to detect quantitative trait nucleotides (QTNs) for fifteen traits associated with biomass composition.

RESULTS: Among the 470 QTNs, only 72 identified by at least two models were considered as reliable. Among these latter, 16 also showed a significant effect on the corresponding trait (p.value < 0.05). Candidate genes survey carried out within 4 Mb flanking the QTNs, revealed putative biological functions associated with lipid transfer and metabolism, cell wall modifications, cell cycle, and photosynthesis. Four genes encoded as Cellulose Synthase (CeSa), Anaphase promoting complex (APC/C), Glucoronoxylan 4-O Methyltransferase (GXM) and HYPONASTIC LEAVES1 (HYL1) might be responsible for an increase in cellulose, and natural and acid detergent fiber (NDF and ADF) content in tetraploid wheat. In addition, the SNP marker RFL_Contig3228_2154 associated with the variation in stem solidness (Q.Scsb-3B) was validated through two molecular methods (High resolution melting; HRM and RNase H2-dependent PCR; rhAMP).

CONCLUSIONS: The study provides new insights into the genetic basis of biomass composition traits on tetraploid wheat. The application of six ML-GWAS models on a panel of diverse wheat genotypes represents an efficient approach to dissect complex traits with low heritability such as wheat straw composition. The discovery of genes/genomic regions associated with biomass production and straw quality parameters is expected to accelerate the development of high-yielding wheat varieties useful for biofuel production.

PMID:36344939 | DOI:10.1186/s12870-022-03900-6

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