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Crop Biotech Update

Researchers Find Overlapping QTL for Stomatal Traits and Yield in Wheat

July 13, 2016
Stomata are specialized leaf epidermal cells which facilitate CO2 uptake and water loss. Understanding the mechanisms controlling stomatal size is critical to maintain a high photosynthetic rate. Researchers from the University of Adelaide in Australia explored the genetic variation and identified quantitative traits loci (QTL) for stomatal traits in wheat (Triticum aestivum) grown under greenhouse and field conditions.

The genetics of stomatal traits was investigated using double haploid lines from a cross between Australian lines of wheat, RAC875 and Kukri. The drought tolerant line RAC875 showed small stomata in compared to Kukri. Differences were also observed for stomatal density and size. Analysis showed a negative correlation between stomatal size and density, indicating a compensatory relationship between them.

QTLs were also identified for stomatal traits on chromosomes 1A, 1B, 2B, and 7A. Some of these loci also overlap with QTLs that control kernel number per spike and yield in chromosome 7A. This suggests that stomatal traits could be a potential approach in increasing yield in wheat.

For more information, read the full article in BMC Plant Biology.