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Pre-Breeding at NIAB

Pre-Breeding at NIAB - Ppd alleles and markers, QTL for earliness per se and novel variation from synthetic wheat useful to UK/EU wheat improvement

Contact: Dr Alison Bentley

This project is divided into three work programmes that will deliver pre-breeding outputs. The first will exploit the recent identification of the three wheat Ppd genes (the major determinants of photoperiod response) by the Laurie group at JIC and will:

1. Characterise the extent of allelic variation for wheat Ppd

2. Develop molecular markers to aid breeding

3. Develop near isogenic lines with principal allelic variants to characterise developmental effects attributable to individual alleles.

This will provide a robust data set linking individual Ppd alleles to effects on flowering time, ear development and yield potential. Donor germplasm for novel alleles will have been defined and diagnostic molecular markers for all allelic types will aid rapid exploitation by commercial breeders.

In the second work programme, we will investigate other loci known to affect flowering time; These "earliness per se" (Eps) genes are important because they can fine-tune development and adaptation, but this class of genes are very poorly understood. We will use existing mapping populations and data for current varieties to localise Eps genes and quantify their effects. This will provide information on Eps loci that complements Ppd, define their effect on wheat development and identify of sources of variation and linked markers.

In the final work area, we will undertake a crossing programme from CIMMYT synthetic hexaploid wheat (SHW) lines and CIMMYT varieties derived from SHW into UK adapted germplasm. Between 30 and 40 non-redundant SHW will be crossed to an adapted UK wheat to the BC1F2 and then by single seed descent to F5 generating 100 inbred donor lines per original cross. From ten SHW derived varieties, donor segments will be identified by genotyping and transferred by backcross introgression to a UK wheat. After seed multiplication, all lines will be tested for key agronomic and sustainability traits, including drought tolerance.

Funding: BBSRC Crop Science Initiative, Home Grown Cereals Authority, British Wheat Breeders

Industry Involvement: British Wheat Breeders (KWS UK Ltd, Nickerson-Advanta Ltd, RAGT Seeds Ltd)

Collaborating Organizations: John Innes Centre