Dissection of a grain yield QTL from wild emmer wheat reveals sub-intervals associated with culm length and kernel number

Mathieu Deblieck, Gergely Szilagyi, Fatiukha Andrii, Yehoshua Saranga, Madita Lauterberg, Kerstin Neumann, Tamar Krugman, Dragan Perovic, Klaus Pillen, Frank Ordon*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Genetic diversity in wheat has been depleted due to domestication and modern breeding. Wild relatives are a valuable source for improving drought tolerance in domesticated wheat. A QTL region on chromosome 2BS of wild emmer wheat (Triticum turgidum ssp. dicoccoides), conferring high grain yield under well-watered and water-limited conditions, was transferred to the elite durum wheat cultivar Uzan (T. turgidum ssp. durum) by a marker-assisted backcross breeding approach. The 2B introgression line turned out to be higher yielding but also exhibited negative traits that likely result from trans-, cis-, or linkage drag effects from the wild emmer parent. In this study, the respective 2BS QTL was subjected to fine-mapping, and a set of 17 homozygote recombinants were phenotyped at BC4F5 generation under water-limited and well-watered conditions at an experimental farm in Israel and at a high-throughput phenotyping platform (LemnaTec-129) in Germany. In general, both experimental setups allowed the identification of sub-QTL intervals related to culm length, kernel number, thousand kernel weight, and harvest index. Sub-QTLs for kernel number and harvest index were detected specifically under either drought stress or well-watered conditions, while QTLs for culm length and thousand-kernel weight were detected in both conditions. Although no direct QTL for grain yield was identified, plants with the sub-QTL for kernel number showed a higher grain yield than the recurrent durum cultivar Uzan under well-watered and mild drought stress conditions. We, therefore, suggest that this sub-QTL might be of interest for future breeding purposes.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number955295
JournalFrontiers in Genetics
StatePublished - 19 Oct 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2022 Deblieck, Szilagyi, Andrii, Saranga, Lauterberg, Neumann, Krugman, Perovic, Pillen and Ordon.


  • 15K-iSelect
  • GBS
  • culm length
  • drought tolerance
  • grain yield
  • kernel number
  • wild emmer


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