Genetic variability and association mapping of anther extrusion in spring bread wheat
Hybrid wheat is a promising technology to increase yields worldwide. High seed production costs and low heterosis are the main constraints for the development of hybrid wheats. Maximizing heterosis, and selection and utilization of appropriate morphological, floral and flowering traits to optimize outcrossing are important for hybrid seed production. For an efficient hybrid wheat seed production, high anther extrusion is required to promote cross fertilization and to ensure a high level of pollen availability. A pool of 200 elite spring bread wheat male parental lines was visually assessed for anther extrusion in the plastic-house and field environments. Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) for anther extrusion was carried out using a total of 12725 SNP markers. A wide genotypic variance was observed. Several significant (|log10(P)| > 3.0) marker trait associations (MTAs) were detected. Both genotypes and environment influenced the magnitude of the anther of extrusion. The consistently significant markers could be helpful to introduce anther extrusion trait in high yielding varieties and consequently improve hybrid-seed production in wheat.