Genetic impact of Rht dwarfing genes on grain micronutrients concentration in wheat
Summary or description
Wheat is a major staple food crop providing about 20% of dietary energy and proteins, and food products made of whole grain wheat are a major source of micronutrients like Zinc (Zn), Iron (Fe), Manganese (Mn), Magnesium (Mg), Vitamin B and E. Wheat provides about 40% intake of essential micronutrients by humans in the developing countries relying on wheat based diets. Varieties with genetically enhanced levels of grain micronutrient concentrations can provide a cost-effective and sustainable option to resource poor wheat consumers. To determine the effects of commonly deployed dwarfing genes on wheat grain Zn, Fe, Mn and Mg concentrations, nine bread wheat (Triticum aestivum) and six durum wheat (T. turgidum) isoline pairs differing for Rht1 (= Rht-B1b) and one bread wheat pair for Rht2 (= Rht-D1b) dwarfing genes were evaluated for three crop seasons at N.E. Borlaug Research Station, Cd. Obregon, Sonora, Mexico. Presence of dwarfing genes have significantly reduced grain Zn concentration by 3.9 ppm (range 1.9-10.0 ppm), and Fe by 3.2 ppm (range 1.0-14.4 ppm). On the average, about 94 ppm Mg and 6 ppm Mn reductions occurred in semidwarf varieties compared to tall varieties. The thousand kernel weight (TKW) of semidwarf isolines was 2.6 g (range 0.7-5.6 g) lower than the tall counterparts whereas the plant height decreased by 25 cm (range 16–37 cm). Reductions for all traits in semidwarfs were genotype dependent and the magnitude of height reductions did not correlate with reductions in micronutrient concentrations in wheat grain. We conclude that increased grain yield potential of semidwarf wheat varieties is associated with reduced grain micronutrient concentrations; however, the magnitude of reductions in micronutrients varied depending on genetic background and their associated pleiotropic effect on yield components.
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