A comprehensive meta-QTL analysis for yield-related traits of durum wheat (Triticum turgidum L. var. durum) grown under different water regimes

Front Plant Sci. 2022 Sep 6:13:984269. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2022.984269. eCollection 2022.


Abiotic stress strongly affects yield-related traits in durum wheat, in particular drought is one of the main environmental factors that have effect on grain yield and plant architecture. In order to obtain new genotypes well adapted to stress conditions, the highest number of desirable traits needs to be combined in the same genotype. In this context, hundreds of quantitative trait loci (QTL) have been identified for yield-related traits in different genetic backgrounds and environments. Meta-QTL (MQTL) analysis is a useful approach to combine data sets and for creating consensus positions for the QTL detected in independent studies for the reliability of their location and effects. MQTL analysis is a useful method to dissect the genetic architecture of complex traits, which provide an extensive allelic coverage, a higher mapping resolution and allow the identification of putative molecular markers useful for marker-assisted selection (MAS). In the present study, a complete and comprehensive MQTL analysis was carried out to identify genomic regions associated with grain-yield related traits in durum wheat under different water regimes. A total of 724 QTL on all 14 chromosomes (genomes A and B) were collected for the 19 yield-related traits selected, of which 468 were reported under rainfed conditions, and 256 under irrigated conditions. Out of the 590 QTL projected on the consensus map, 421 were grouped into 76 MQTL associated with yield components under both irrigated and rainfed conditions, 12 genomic regions containing stable MQTL on all chromosomes except 1A, 4A, 5A, and 6B. Candidate genes associated to MQTL were identified and an in-silico expression analysis was carried out for 15 genes selected among those that were differentially expressed under drought. These results can be used to increase durum wheat grain yields under different water regimes and to obtain new genotypes adapted to climate change.

Keywords: QTL; drought; durum wheat; meta-QTL analysis; rainfed; yield component.