Aegilops tauschii contribution to disease resistance traits exceeds the contributions of the durum subgenomes in synthetic hexaploid wheat

Synthetic hexaploid wheat (SHW), generated by crossing Triticum turgidum (AABB) with Aegilops tauschii (DD), has been exploited in improving various traits in cultivated wheat. A number of recent studies decomposed the additive variance of different traits captured by multiple sets of variants (e.g. single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) located on different chromosomes or genic/intergenic regions) in both human and animal quantitative genetics studies. In this research, we dissected the additive variance explained by the three subgenomes and seven homoeologous sets of chromosomes in SHW germplasm to gain a better understanding of trait evolution in newly synthesized wheat. Our SHW germplasm lines generated by crossing improved durum parents (AABB) with Aegilops tauschii (DD) parents were phenotyped for ten fungal/nematode resistance traits. The lines were genotyped by genotyping-by-sequencing and 6,176 SNPs were mapped with missing data of less than 20%. The D subgenome dominated the additive effects and this dominance affected the A more than the B subgenome. The D subgenome exhibited a 1.8-fold higher contribution than the A subgenome across all traits. This dominance was not inflated by population structure or by longer linkage disequilibrium blocks observed in the D subgenome. The cumulative effects of the three homoeologs in each set had a significant positive correlation with their cumulative explained additive variance. Moreover, an average of 70% for each chromosomal group cumulative additive variance came from one homoeolog that had the highest explained variance within the group across all ten traits. We hypothesize that structural and functional changes during diploidization may explain chromosomal group relationships as allopolyploids maintain a balanced dosage for many genes. Our results contribute to a better understanding of trait evolutionary mechanisms in SHW, and will facilitate effective utilization of wheat relatives in breeding.

La Trobe University
Reem Joukhadar, Sukhwinder Singh, Francis Ogbonnaya
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