Mapping QTL for phenological and grain-related traits in a mapping population derived from high-zinc-biofortified wheat
Genomic regions governing days to heading (DH), days to maturity (DM), plant height (PH), thousand-kernel weight (TKW), and test weight (TW) were investigated in a set of 190 RILs derived from a cross between a widely cultivated wheat-variety, Kachu (DPW-621-50), and a high-zinc variety, Zinc-Shakti. The RIL population was genotyped using 909 DArTseq markers and phenotyped in three environments. The constructed genetic map had a total genetic length of 4665 cM, with an average marker density of 5.13 cM. A total of thirty-seven novel quantitative trait loci (QTL), including twelve for PH, six for DH, five for DM, eight for TKW and six for TW were identified. A set of 20 stable QTLs associated with the expression of DH, DM, PH, TKW, and TW were identified in two or more environments. Three novel pleiotropic genomic-regions harboring co-localized QTLs governing two or more traits were also identified. In silico analysis revealed that the DArTseq markers were located on important putative candidate genes such as MLO-like protein, Phytochrome, Zinc finger and RING-type, Cytochrome P450 and pentatricopeptide repeat, involved in the regulation of pollen maturity, the photoperiodic modulation of flowering-time, abiotic-stress tolerance, grain-filling duration, thousand-kernel weight, seed morphology, and plant growth and development. The identified novel QTLs, particularly stable and co-localized QTLs, will be validated to estimate their effects in different genetic backgrounds for subsequent use in marker-assisted selection (MAS).