Genome-wide association of stem water soluble carbohydrates in bread wheat.
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Water soluble carbohydrates (WSC) in stems play an important role in buffering grain yield in wheat against biotic and abiotic stresses; however, knowledge of genes controlling WSC is very limited. We conducted a genome-wide association study (GWAS) using a high-density 90K SNP array to better understand the genetic basis underlying WSC, and to explore marker-based breeding approaches. WSC was evaluated in an association panel comprising 166 Chinese bread wheat cultivars planted in four environments. Fifty two marker-trait associations (MTAs) distributed across 23 loci were identified for phenotypic best linear unbiased estimates (BLUEs), and 11 MTAs were identified in two or more environments. Liner regression showed a clear dependence of WSC BLUE scores on numbers of favorable (increasing WSC content) and unfavorable alleles (decreasing WSC), indicating that genotypes with higher numbers of favorable or lower numbers of unfavorable alleles had higher WSC content. In silico analysis of flanking sequences of trait-associated SNPs revealed eight candidate genes related to WSC content grouped into two categories based on the type of encoding proteins, namely, defense response proteins and proteins triggered by environmental stresses. The identified SNPs and candidate genes related to WSC provide opportunities for breeding higher WSC wheat cultivars.
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