Exploring genetic diversity for grain partitioning traits to enhance yield in a high biomass spring wheat panel uri icon

abstract

  • Breeding to raise yield potential through enhancing photosynthesis will have limited impact unless harvest index (HI: proportion of above-ground biomass as grain yield) is maintained or ideally increased. Boosting grain dry matter (DM) partitioning will require increased allocation of assimilates to sink organs to enhance spike growth. A high biomass spring wheat panel of 150 genotypes encompassing elite, landrace-derived and synthetic-derived lines was grown under yield potential conditions in two seasons in NW Mexico. Results showed that the incorporation of landrace-derived and synthetic-derived backgrounds into elite lines resulted in higher expression of above-ground biomass (AGDM), leaf lamina and stem DM partitioning at anthesis. However, no grain yield advantage was observed over elite lines, due to lower grain number per unit area (GN) and decreased harvest index (HI). Positive linear associations were found among spike fertility-related traits fruiting efficiency (grains per unit of spike DM at anthesis; FE), GN and HI which were, in turn, related positively with grain yield (GY). Stem-internode 3 length and internode 3 DM partioning were negatively associated with spike partitioning index (SPI: ratio of spike DM to total above-ground DM at anthesis) and GN, suggesting an enhanced competition for assimilates between the spike and stem internode 3 during stem elongation. Within-spike DM partitioning analysis (glume, lemma, palea, rachis, awn) showed decreased partitioning to awns was associated with increased FE and thousand grain weight (TGW). While the use of exotic material can enhance biomass, special attention needs to be paid in the selection for novel DM partitioning traits that raise HI and GN coming from the elite genepool. The selection for grain partitioning traits in wheat breeding combined with sources expressing high biomass can potentially allow breeders to increase grain carbon assimilation that will deliver higher yields.

publication date

  • 2021
  • 2021