Defining the genetic and physiological basis of Triticum sphaerococcum Perc.
Thesis DisciplineCellular and Molecular Biology
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Science
ABSTRACT Triticum sphaerococcum (AABBDD, 2n = 6x = 42) is a land race of wheat known from the Indian subcontinent. It has several favourable characters including short and strong culms, hemispherical grains with a shallow crease (that may increase the yield of white flour), higher protein content compared to bread wheat (T. aestivum), and resistance to drought, and yellow rust caused by Puccinia striiformis. However, an unfavourable characteristic of T. sphaerococcum is its lower yield compared to bread wheat. Being a land race, the sphaerococcum wheat is poorly studied. This study was undertaken to increase knowledge of the physiology and genetics of this land race and determine if it may be possible to separate the favourable characters of T. sphaerococcum from its unfavourable characters. Plant height in bread wheat is controlled by many genes. ‘Reduced Height’ (Rht) genes which differ in their response to externally applied gibberellic acid (GA3) are responsible for the short stature of modern bread wheat varieties. Therefore, GA3 was used to probe the relationship between the semidwarf sphaerococcum phenotype and the Rht gene. T. sphaerococcum variety Sp5 showed a unique “seedling response” to externally applied GA3 when compared with T. aestivum varieties harbouring Rht1, Rht2, Rht8, Rht12, Rht13 or Rht18 alleles.
A mapping population of doubled haploids was generated through wide hybridisation of F1 (Sp5 x Otane) with Zea mays. A genome-wide scan of Sp5 and Otane (parents) using 348 microsatellite (SSR) markers showed that only 169 of these markers (49%) were polymorphic between the parents. A DArT profiling yielded 348 markers that were polymorphic between the parents. Microsatellite markers and DArT markers were used to create a genetic map. The mapping population was phenotyped and a quantitative trait loci (QTL) analysis was performed for component traits of the complex sphaerococcum trait including plant height, spike length, awn length, yield, grain shape and crease size. Results of the QTL analysis indicated that it may be difficult to separate the favourable characters of T. sphaerococcum from its unfavourable characters through mutation because the component traits of the complex sphaerococcum trait may be under pleiotropic control of the Sp gene. The hypothesis that T. sphaerococcum originated through a mutation in T. aestivum was tested through induced mutation using gamma rays. Mutants from sphaerococcum-type to aestivum-type were isolated and phenotyped. Sphaerococcum-type mutants also were isolated and characterised from mutated aestivum-type wheat suggesting a possible origin of T. sphaerococcum through a mutation in T. aestivum.