Co-Evolution of Sink and Source in the Recent Breeding History of Winter Wheat in Germany.
ABSTRACT: Optimizing the interplay between sinks and sources is of crucial importance for breeding progress in winter wheat. However, the physiological limitations of yield from source (e.g. green canopy duration, GCD) and sink (e.g. grain number) are still unclear. Furthermore, there is little information on how the source traits have been modified during the breeding history of winter wheat. This study analyzed the breeding progress of sink and source components and their relationships to yield components. Field trials were conducted over three years with 220 cultivars representing the German breeding history of the past five decades. In addition, genetic associations of QTL for the traits were assessed with genome-wide association studies. Breeding progress mainly resulted from an increase in grain numbers per spike, a sink component, whose variations were largely explained by the photosynthetic activity around anthesis, a source component. Surprisingly, despite significant breeding progress in GCD and other source components, they showed no direct influence on thousand grain weights, indicating that grain filling was not limited by the source strength. Our results suggest that, 1) the potential longevity of the green canopy is predetermined at the time point that the number of grains is fixed; 2) a co-evolution of source and sink strength during the breeding history contribute to the yield formation of the modern cultivars. For future breeding we suggest to choose parental lines with high grain numbers per spike on the sink side, and high photosynthetic activity around anthesis and canopy duration on the source side, and to place emphasis on these traits throughout selection.
Project description:Improving photosynthesis is a major target for increasing crop yields and ensuring food security. Phenotyping of photosynthesis in the field is critical to understand the limits to crop performance in agricultural settings. Yet, detailed phenotyping of photosynthetic traits is relatively scarce in field-grown wheat, with previous studies focusing on narrow germplasm selections. Flag leaf photosynthetic traits, crop development, and yield traits were compared in 64 field-grown wheat cultivars in the UK. Pre-anthesis and post-anthesis photosynthetic traits correlated significantly and positively with grain yield and harvest index (HI). These traits included net CO2 assimilation measured at ambient CO2 concentrations and a range of photosynthetic photon flux densities, and traits associated with the light response of photosynthesis. In most cultivars, photosynthesis decreased post-anthesis compared with pre-anthesis, and this was associated with decreased Rubisco activity and abundance. Heritability of photosynthetic traits suggests that phenotypic variation can be used to inform breeding programmes. Specific cultivars were identified with traits relevant to breeding for increased crop yields in the UK: pre-anthesis photosynthesis, post-anthesis photosynthesis, light response of photosynthesis, and Rubisco amounts. The results indicate that flag leaf longevity and operating photosynthetic activity in the canopy can be further exploited to maximize grain filling in UK bread wheat.
Project description:Improving winter wheat grain yield and water use efficiency (WUE) with minimum irrigation is very important for ensuring agricultural and ecological sustainability in the Northern China Plain (NCP). A three-year field experiment was conducted to determine how single irrigation can improve grain yield and WUE by manipulating the "sink-source" relationships. To achieve this, no-irrigation after sowing (W0) as a control, and five single irrigation treatments after sowing (75 mm of each irrigation) were established. They included irrigation at upstanding (WU), irrigation at jointing (WJ), irrigation at booting (WB), irrigation at anthesis (WA) and irrigation at medium milk (WM). Results showed that compared with no-irrigation after sowing (W0), WU, WJ, WB, WA and WM significantly improved mean grain yield by 14.1%, 19.9%, 17.9%, 11.6%, and 7.5%, respectively. WJ achieved the highest grain yield (8653.1 kg ha-1) and WUE (20.3 kg ha-1 mm-1), and WB observed the same level of grain yield and WUE as WJ. In comparison to WU, WJ and WB coordinated pre- and post-anthesis water use while reducing pre-anthesis and total evapotranspiration (ET). They also retained higher soil water content above 180 cm soil layers at anthesis, increased post-anthesis water use, and ultimately increased WUE. WJ and WB optimized population quantity and individual leaf size, delayed leaf senescence, extended grain-filling duration, improved post-anthesis biomass and biomass remobilization (source supply capacity) as well as post-anthesis biomass per unit anthesis leaf area (PostBA-leaf ratio). WJ also optimized the allocation of assimilation, increased the spike partitioning index (SPI, spike biomass/biomass at anthesis) and grain production efficiency (GPE, the ratio of grain number to biomass at anthesis), thus improved mean sink capacity by 28.1%, 5.7%, 21.9%, and 26.7% in comparison to W0, WU, WA and WM, respectively. Compared with WA and WM, WJ and WB also increased sink capacity, post-anthesis biomass and biomass remobilization. These results demonstrated that single irrigation at jointing or booting could improve grain yield and WUE via coordinating the "source-sink" relationships with the high sink capacity and source supply capacity. Therefore, we propose that under adequate soil moisture conditions before sowing, single irrigation scheme from jointing to booting with 75 mm irrigation amount is the optimal minimum irrigation practice for wheat production in this region.
Project description:Moderate heat stress accompanied by short episodes of extreme heat during the post-anthesis stage is common in most US wheat growing areas and causes substantial yield losses. Sink strength (grain number) is a key yield limiting factor in modern wheat varieties. Increasing spike fertility (SF) and improving the partitioning of assimilates can optimize sink strength which is essential to improve wheat yield potential under a hot and humid environment. A genome-wide association study (GWAS) allows identification of novel quantitative trait loci (QTLs) associated with SF and other partitioning traits that can assist in marker assisted breeding. In this study, GWAS was performed on a soft wheat association mapping panel (SWAMP) comprised of 236 elite lines using 27,466 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). The panel was phenotyped in two heat stress locations over 3 years. GWAS identified 109 significant marker-trait associations (MTAs) (p ? 9.99 x 10-5) related to eight phenotypic traits including SF (a major component of grain number) and spike harvest index (SHI, a major component of grain weight). MTAs detected on chromosomes 1B, 3A, 3B, and 5A were associated with multiple traits and are potentially important targets for selection. More than half of the significant MTAs (60 out of 109) were found in genes encoding different types of proteins related to metabolism, disease, and abiotic stress including heat stress. These MTAs could be potential targets for further validation study and may be used in marker-assisted breeding for improving wheat grain yield under post-anthesis heat stress conditions. This is the first study to identify novel QTLs associated with SF and SHI which represent the major components of grain number and grain weight, respectively, in wheat.
Project description:Nitrogen (N) fertilizer represents a significant cost for the grower and may also have environmental impacts through nitrate leaching and N2O (a greenhouse gas) emissions associated with denitrification. The objectives of this study were to quantify the genetic variability in N partitioning and N remobilization in Indian spring wheat cultivars and identify traits for improved grain yield and grain protein content for application in breeding N-efficient cultivars. Twenty-eight bread wheat cultivars and two durum wheat cultivars were tested in field experiments in two years in Maharashtra, India. Growth analysis was conducted at anthesis and harvest to assess above-ground dry matter (DM) and dry matter and N partitioning. Flag-leaf photosynthesis rate (A max ), flag-leaf senescence rate and canopy normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) were also assessed. Significant N?×?genotype level interaction was observed for grain yield and N-use efficiency. There was a positive linear association between post-anthesis flag-leaf A max and grain yield amongst the 30 genotypes under high N (HN) conditions. Flag-leaf A max was positively associated with N uptake at anthesis (AGNA). Under both HN and low N (LN) conditions, higher N uptake at anthesis was associated with delayed onset of flag-leaf senescence and higher grain yield. Under N limitation, there was a genetic negative correlation between grain yield and grain protein concentration. Deviation from this negative relationship (grain protein deviation or GPD) was related to genotypic differences in post-anthesis N uptake. It is concluded that N uptake at anthesis was an important determinant of flag-leaf photosynthesis rate and grain yield under high N conditions; while post-anthesis N uptake was an important determinant of GPD of wheat grown under low to moderate N conditions in India.
Project description:Knowledge of the function of the ear as a key organ in the uptake, remobilization and partitioning of nitrogen is essential for understanding its contribution to grain filling and thus guiding future breeding strategies. In this work, four Chinese winter wheat genotypes were grown on a 15N-enriched nutrient solution. N absorption and further remobilization to the flag leaf, the ear and the mature grains were calculated via the 15N atom % excess. The results indicated that the high yields of the Chinese wheat genotype were determined by higher grain numbers per ear, with greater plant height and a larger ear size, while the thousand-grain weight did not affect grain yield. In the mature grains, 66.7% of total N was remobilized from the pre-anthesis accumulation in the biomass, while the remaining 33.3% was derived from the N taken up during post-anthesis. From anthesis to 2 weeks after the anthesis stage, the flag leaf remobilized 3.67 mg of N outwards and the ear remobilized 3.87 mg of N inwards from the pre-anthesis accumulation in each plant. The positive correlation between ear Nrem and grain Nrem indicated that the ear was an important organ for providing N to the grain, whereas the remobilized N stream from the leaves was not correlated with grain Nrem, thus indicating that flag leaf N was not translocated directly to the grain. The grain Nrem was negatively correlated with the ear N concentration throughout grain filling, which suggested that higher-yielding genotypes had better sink activity in the ear, while Rubisco played a critical role in N deposition. Therefore, to improve yield potential in wheat, the N accumulation in the ear and the subsequent remobilization of that stored N to the grains should be considered. N accumulation and remobilization in the ear may at least be valuable for Chinese breeding programs that aim at optimizing the sink/source balance to improve grain filling.
Project description:BACKGROUND:To improve our understanding about the physiological mechanism of grain yield reduction at anthesis, three spring wheat genotypes [L1 (advanced line), L2 (Vorobey) and L3 (Punjab-11)] having contrasting yield potential under drought in field were investigated under controlled greenhouse conditions, drought stress was imposed at anthesis stage by withholding irrigation until all plant available water was depleted, while well-watered control plants were kept at 95% pot water holding capacity. RESULTS:Compared to genotype L1 and L2, pronounced decrease in grain number (NGS), grain yield (GY) and harvest index (HI) were found in genotype L3, mainly due to its greater kernel abortion (KA) under drought. A significant positive correlation of leaf monodehydroascorbate reductase (MDHAR) with both NGS and HI was observed. In contrast, significant negative correlations of glutathione S-transferase (GST) and vacuolar invertase (vacInv) both within source and sink were found with NGS and HI. Likewise, a significant negative correlation of leaf abscisic acid (ABA) with NGS was noticed. Moreover, leaf aldolase and cell wall peroxidase (cwPOX) activities were significantly and positively associated with thousand kernel weight (TKW). CONCLUSION:Distinct physiological markers correlating with yield traits and higher activity of leaf aldolase and cwPOX may be chosen as predictive biomarkers for higher TKW. Also, higher activity of MDHAR within the leaf can be selected as a predictive biomarker for higher NGS in wheat under drought. Whereas, lower activity of vacInv and GST both within leaf and spike can be selected as biomarkers for higher NGS and HI. The results highlighted the role of antioxidant and carbohydrate-metabolic enzymes in the modulation of source-sink balance in wheat crops, which could be used as bio-signatures for breeding and selection of drought-resilient wheat genotypes for a future drier climate.
Project description:Identifying key performance traits is essential for elucidating crop growth processes and breeding. In Salix spp., genotypic diversity is being exploited to tailor new varieties to overcome environmental yield constraints. Process-based models can assist these efforts by identifying key parameters of yield formation for different genotype×environment (G×E) combinations. Here, four commercial willow varieties grown in contrasting environments (west and south-east UK) were intensively sampled for growth traits over two 2-year rotations. A sink-source interaction model was developed to parameterize the balance of source (carbon capture/mobilization) and sink formation (morphogenesis, carbon allocation) during growth. Global sensitivity analysis consistently identified day length for the onset of stem elongation as most important factor for yield formation, followed by various 'sink>source' controlling parameters. In coastal climates, the chilling control of budburst ranked higher compared with the more eastern climate. Sensitivity to drought, including canopy size and rooting depth, was potentially growth limiting in the south-east and west of the UK. Potential yields increased from the first to the second rotation, but less so for broad- than for narrow-leaved varieties (20 and 47%, respectively), which had established less well initially (-19%). The establishment was confounded by drought during the first rotation, affecting broad- more than narrow-leaved canopy phenotypes (-29%). The analysis emphasized quantum efficiency at low light intensity as key to assimilation; however, on average, sink parameters were more important than source parameters. The G×E pairings described with this new process model will help to identify parameters of sink-source control for future willow breeding.
Project description:The source-sink relationship determines the ultimate grain yield of rice. In this study, we used a set of reciprocal introgression lines (ILs) derived from Xuishui09 × IR2061 to map quantitative trait loci (QTLs) that were associated with sink-, source-, and grain yield-related traits. A total of 95 QTLs influencing eight measured traits were identified using 6181 high-quality single nucleotide polymorphism markers. Nine background-independent QTLs were consistently detected in seven chromosomal regions in different genetic backgrounds. Seven QTLs clusters simultaneously affected sink-, source-, and grain yield-related traits, probably due to the genetic basis of significant correlations of grain yield with source and sink traits. We selected 15 candidate genes in the four QTLs consistently identified in the two populations by performing gene-based association and haplotype analyses using 2288 accessions from the 3K project. Among these, LOC_Os03g48970 for qTSN3b, LOC_Os06g04710 for qFLL6a, and LOC_Os07g32510 for qTGW7 were considered as the most likely candidate genes based on functional annotations. These results provide a basis for further study of candidate genes and for the development of high-yield rice varieties by balancing source-sink relationships using marker-assisted selection.
Project description:Independent and combined drought and heat stress negatively affect wheat yield and physiology. The present study was aimed to quantify effects of Drought [D], heat [H] and combined heat and drought [HD] during reproductive stage on wheat yield and to identify physio-biochemical traits which were strongly associated with improved yield and tolerance of wheat under stressful conditions. One hundred and eight elite diverse wheat genotypes were exposed to [H], [D] and [HD] treatments from heading till maturity. Grain yield was reduced by 56.47%, 53.05% and 44.66% under [HD], [H] and [D] treatment, respectively. The [HD] treatment affects the grain yield by reducing metabolism and mobilization of reserves to developing grains and leaves. Disintegration of membrane structure, chlorophyll and protein molecules was higher under [H] stress than [D] stress while water status of genotypes and sink strength was more affected by [D] than [H] stress. Multivariate analysis showed a strong correlation of chlorophyll content before and after anthesis, water-soluble carbohydrates (WSC), proline content (PC) and all other studies agronomic and physiological traits with grain yield while days to anthesis (DTA) and days to maturity (DTM) were negatively associated with grain yield under stress showing advantage of early maturity during stress. Traits having a major contribution in the first two principal components under different stress treatments may lead to improved varieties with heat and drought stress tolerance. To best of over knowledge, the present study is the first detailed study which used physiological and biochemical traits to explain the variation in grain yield and related traits in diverse wheat germplasm.
Project description:The yield potential of rice (Oryza sativa L.) has experienced two significant growth periods that coincide with the introduction of semi-dwarfism and the utilization of heterosis. In present study, we determined the annual increase in the grain yield of rice varieties grown from 1936 to 2005 in Middle Reaches of Yangtze River and examined the contributions of RUE (radiation-use efficiency, the conversion efficiency of pre-anthesis intercepted global radiation to biomass) and NUE (nitrogen-use efficiency, the ratio of grain yield to aboveground N accumulation) to these improvements. An examination of the 70-year period showed that the annual gains of 61.9 and 75.3 kg ha(-1) in 2013 and 2014, respectively, corresponded to an annual increase of 1.18 and 1.16% in grain yields, respectively. The improvements in grain yield resulted from increases in the harvest index and biomass, and the sink size (spikelets per panicle) was significantly enlarged because of breeding for larger panicles. Improvements were observed in RUE and NUE through advancements in breeding. Moreover, both RUE and NUE were significantly correlated with the grain yield. Thus, our study suggests that genetic improvements in rice grain yield are associated with increased RUE and NUE.