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Inheritance of coleoptile tiller appearance and size in wheat

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-16, 22:01 authored by Rebetzke, GJ, Lopez-Castaneda, C, Tina AcunaTina Acuna, Condon, AG, Richards, RA
Selection for rapid leaf area growth has the potential to increase wheat biomass, and both water-use efficiency and weed competitiveness early in the season. Several morphological components contribute to increased seedling leaf area, including rapid seedling emergence and production of longer, wider leaves. Early emergence of a large coleoptile tiller has also been demonstrated to increase plant leaf area and biomass in wheat and other grass seedlings. Yet little is known of the extent and nature of genotypic variation for coleoptile tiller growth in wheat. A random set of 35 wheat, barley, and triticale genotypes was evaluated in glasshouse and outdoor studies for seedling characteristics, including coleoptile tiller growth and total plant leaf area. Coleoptile tillers were produced more reliably for seedlings grown outdoors and when supplied with additional soil nitrogen. Genotypic differences in coleoptile tiller frequency and leaf area were large, ranging from 0 to 78% and from 0.0 to 1.4 cm2, respectively at very early growth stages. Australian commercial wheats tended to produce fewer coleoptile tillers of smaller size than overseas germplasm where the coleoptile tiller accounted for up to 12% of total seedling leaf area. This compared favourably with mainstem tiller leaf area, which ranged from 0 to 3.5 cm2 and accounted for up to 16% of plant leaf area. Broad-sense heritabilities were high for coleoptile tiller presence and size in favourable conditions (c. 75%) but low (c. 40%) for seedlings evaluated across nitrogen content-varying soils. Generation means analysis was used to investigate genetic control for coleoptile tiller growth across multiple populations. Significant (P < 0.05) differences were observed among generations for coleoptile tiller frequency and growth (numbers of leaves, leaf area, and biomass). These differences reflected strong additive genetic control with little evidence for any gene action x year interaction. Increases in coleoptile tiller frequency and mass were correlated with larger embryo size and wider seedling leaves to increase seedling leaf area (r g ≤ 0.89). Comparisons between reciprocal F1 and F 2 generation means indicated strong maternal effects for coleoptile tiller growth in some but not all crosses. Screening in favourable environments will increase heritability and aid in selection for progenies producing large coleoptile tillers. Evidence for additive genetic control should permit early generation selection but not without some progeny-testing for coleoptile tiller growth together with other early vigour components associated with increased plant leaf area. © CSIRO 2008.


Publication title

Australian Journal of Agricultural Research










Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA)


Elsevier BV

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