Mineral nutrient malnutrition, and particularly deficiency in zinc and iron, afflicts over 3 billion people worldwide. Wild emmer wheat, Triticum turgidum ssp. dicoccoides, genepool harbors a rich allelic repertoire for mineral nutrients in the grain. The genetic and physiological basis of grain protein, micronutrients (zinc, iron, copper and manganese) and macronutrients (calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus and sulfur) concentration was studied in tetraploid wheat population of 152 recombinant inbred lines (RILs), derived from a cross between durum wheat (cv. Langdon) and wild emmer (accession G18-16). Wide genetic variation was found among the RILs for all grain minerals, with considerable transgressive effect. A total of 82 QTLs were mapped for 10 minerals with LOD score range of 3.2-16.7. Most QTLs were in favor of the wild allele (50 QTLs). Fourteen pairs of QTLs for the same trait were mapped to seemingly homoeologous positions, reflecting synteny between the A and B genomes. Significant positive correlation was found between grain protein concentration (GPC), Zn, Fe and Cu, which was supported by significant overlap between the respective QTLs, suggesting common physiological and/or genetic factors controlling the concentrations of these mineral nutrients. Few genomic regions (chromosomes 2A, 5A, 6B and 7A) were found to harbor clusters of QTLs for GPC and other nutrients. These identified QTLs may facilitate the use of wild alleles for improving grain nutritional quality of elite wheat cultivars, especially in terms of protein, Zn and Fe.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This study was supported by HarvestPlus Biofortification Challenge Program ( http://www.harvestplus.org ). The authors are also grateful to The Israel Science Foundation (ISF) grant #1089/04 and State Planning Organization of the Turkish Republic for providing additional support to this study. We greatly acknowledge A. Avneri, M. Chatzav and U. Uner for their excellent assistance in the field experiments. Z. Peleg is indebted to the Israel Council for Higher Education postdoctoral fellowships award.