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Simultaneous selection for early maturity, increased grain yield and elevated grain protein content in spring wheat



Simultaneous selection for early maturity, increased grain yield and elevated grain protein content in spring wheat



Plant breeding 126(3): 244-250



High grain yield and grain protein content, and early maturity are important traits in global bread wheat (Triticum aestivum L.)-breeding programmes. Improving these three traits simultaneously is difficult due to the negative association between grain yield and grain protein content and the positive association between maturity and grain yield. We investigated the genetic relationship between maturity, grain yield and grain protein content in a population of 130 early maturing spring wheat lines in a high latitude (52-53pN) wheat-growing region of Canada. Grain protein content exhibited negative genetic correlation with maturity (-0.87), grain fill duration (-0.78), grain fill rate (-0.49), grain yield (-0.93) and harvest index (-0.71). Grain yield exhibited positive genetic correlation with maturity (0.69), rate (0.78) and duration (0.49) of grain fill, and harvest index (0.55). Despite the positive association between maturity and grain yield, and negative association between grain yield and grain protein content, higher yielding lines with medium maturity and higher grain protein content were identified. Broad-sense heritabilities were low (<0.40) for rate and duration of grain fill, grain protein content, spike per mpo, grains per spike, harvest index and grain yield, and medium to high (>0.40) for grain weight, days to anthesis and maturity, and plant height. Selection for longer preanthesis and shorter grain fill periods may help circumvent the negative association between grain yield and grain protein content. Selection for shorter grain fill periods and higher grain fill rate may be a useful strategy for developing early maturing cultivars with acceptable grain yields in northern wheat-growing regions.

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Accession: 013268164

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DOI: 10.1111/j.1439-0523.2007.01346.x



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