Quantitative trait loci for aluminum resistance in wheat

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Abstract

Quantitative trait loci (QTL) for wheat resistance to aluminum (Al) toxicity were analyzed using simple sequence repeats (SSRs) in a population of 192 F6 recombinant inbred lines (RILs) derived from a cross between an Al-resistant cultivar, Atlas 66 and an Al-sensitive cultivar, Chisholm. Wheat reaction to Al was measured by relative root growth and root response to hematoxylin stain in nutrient-solution culture. After screening 1,028 SSR markers for polymorphisms between the parents and bulks, we identified two QTLs for Al resistance in Atlas 66. One major QTL was mapped on chromosome 4D that co-segregated with the Al-activated malate transporter gene (ALMT1). Another minor QTL was located on chromosome 3BL. Together, these two QTLs accounted for about 57% of the phenotypic variation in hematoxylin staining score and 50% of the variation in net root growth (NRG). Expression of the minor QTL on 3BL was suppressed by the major QTL on 4DL. The two QTLs for Al resistance in Atlas 66 were also verified in an additional RIL population derived from Atlas 66/Century. Several SSR markers closely linked to the QTLs were identified and have potential to be used for marker-assisted selection (MAS) to improve Al-resistance of wheat cultivars in breeding programs.

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