Allelopathy variation in dryland winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) accessions grown on the Loess Plateau of China for about fifty years


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Abstract

In this study, we investigated the genetic variation of allelopathic potential, its grey correlation with important agronomic characters, and rank analysis on allelopathic stability of fifteen wheat accessions commonly grown in arid regions of the Loess Plateau in China. The genetic variation of allelopathic property in dryland winter wheat showed significant differences between accessions. Allelopathic effects exhibited high heritability (55-95%) throughout the life cycle of wheat. Heritability was highest in the tillering stage and weakest in the seed filling stage. Allelopathic potential varied and was discontinuous throughout the wheat life cycle. Grey correlation analysis indicated a close relationship between allelopathic potential dependant on growth phase and agronomic characters. Allelopathic expression during some growth periods induced a partial correlation effect on some important agronomic characters that affected wheat yield. Allelopathic heritability and its degree of influence on yield were more evident in the vegetative growth stage compared to the reproductive stage. A multiple linear regression was built between allelopathic potential during different growth periods and agronomic characters pursued in wheat breeding. Allelopathic potential had a linear effect on production traits cultivated in wheat breeding. When allelopathic intensity varied from 0 to 1 in the reproductive stage, plant height ranged from 44 to 108 cm, spike length from 6.4 to 9.2 cm, number of spikelets with seeds from 13.4 to 21.0, mean seed number per spike from 41.5 to 50.3 and thousand seed weight from 36.2 to 38.3 g. Based on rank analysis, we concluded that there was a synergistic relationship between allelopathic potential in wheat and genetic, chemical and ecological factors. Triticum aestivum L. ‘No 6 Lankao’ and T. aestivum L. ‘No 22 Xiaoyan’ were identified as stable and relatively strong allelopathic accessions, whereas T. aestivum L. ‘Lankao 95-25’ was a stable but relatively weak allelopathic cultivar. Other varieties showed unstable allelopathic potential.

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