Effect of Ppd-1 genes on durum wheat flowering time and grain filling duration in a wide range of latitudes
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Understanding the effect of genetic factors controlling flowering time is essential to fine-tune crop development to each target environment and to maximize yield. A set of 35 durum wheat genotypes of spring growth-habit involving different allelic combinations at Ppd-A1 and Ppd-B1 genes was grown for 2 years at four sites at latitudes ranging from 19 degrees N to 41 degrees N. The emergence-flowering period was reduced from north to south. The frequency in the collection of the insensitive allele GS-105 at Ppd-A1 was greater (34%) than that of allele GS-100 (20%). Genotypes that flowered earlier due to the presence of alleles causing photoperiod insensitivity extended their grain-filling period, but less than the shortening in flowering time. The effect of the allele conferring photoperiod sensitivity at Ppd-A1 was stronger than that at Ppd-B1 (Ppd-A1b > Ppd-B1b). The effect of photoperiod insensitivity alleles was classified as GS-100 > GS-105 > Ppd-B1a. The phenotypic expression of alleles conferring photoperiod insensitivity at Ppd-A1 increased at sites with average day length from emergence to flowering lower than 12 h. An interaction effect was found between Ppd-A1 and Ppd-B1. Differences between allelic combinations in flowering time accounted for c. 66% of the variability induced by the genotype effect, with the remaining 34% being explained by genes controlling earliness per se. The shortest flowering time across sites corresponded to the allelic combination GS-100/Ppd-B1a, which reduced flowering time by 11 days irrespective of the Ppd-A1b/Ppd-B1b combination. The current study marks a further step towards elucidation of the phenotypic expression of genes regulating photoperiod sensitivity and their interaction with the environment.
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