, Volume 204, Issue 2, pp 371–382 | Cite as

Phenotypic variation and QTL analysis for oil content and protein concentration in bread wheat (Triticum aestivum L.)



The lipid content of wheat is small yet could potentially contribute to increased calorific value of grain delivered for livestock and human consumption. Breeding for greater oil content is required but there is little understanding of the extent or nature of genotypic variation for oil concentration in wheat. A diverse range of commercial and novel spring wheat germplasm was assessed in two years under favourable conditions to understand the extent of genetic variation for lipid content. Genotypic differences were modest in size (4.27–5.32 %) but repeatable across years (rs = 0.71, P < 0.01) reflecting a higher line-mean heritability (0.75). Commercial varieties were intermediate-to-high in their total lipid concentration (mean of 4.82 %) while taller, larger embryo genotypes tended to produce greater lipid concentrations (mean of 4.91 %). Genetic increases in embryo size were associated with moderate increases in oil concentration (rg = 0.38, P < 0.01) while grain yield and oil concentration were uncorrelated (rg = −0.15, P > 0.05). QTL mapping was undertaken in the CD87/Katepwa wheat population phenotyped for grain oil and protein concentration in two years. Both total grain lipid and protein concentrations varied significantly across progeny ranging from 3.87 to 5.77 and 11.3 to 15.6 %, respectively while the ranking of lines for oil content was high (rs = 0.72, P < 0.01) across the 2 years. Nine and 12 QTL were identified for grain lipid and protein concentrations, respectively, with many of the lipid QTL located on the group D chromosomes. Oil and grain protein concentrations were uncorrelated (rg = −0.18, P > 0.05). The identification of diverse wheat sources with higher oil content together with improved genetic understanding suggests potential for genetic improvement of oil content in the development of higher oil wheats.


Oil NMR Heritability Breeding 



We would like to thank the staff of Ginninderra Experiment Station ACT for assistance with sowing and management, and to Bernie Mickelson for excellent technical assistance. We also thank Phil Larkin and Allan Green for helpful discussions, and Lorraine Tonnett and Richard Philips for assistance in the development of the high-throughput NMR methodology used in these studies. Finally, we would like to thank Anke Martin (Uni. of Southern Queensland Toowoomba QLD) and Brian Osborne (Grains Research Centre, BRI Australia Ltd Sydney NSW) for the provision of kernel hardness data used in this paper.


  1. Adams KL, Jensen AH (1987) High-fat maize in diets for pigs and sows. Anim Feed Sci Technol 17:201–212Google Scholar
  2. Bekes F, Zawistowska U, Zillman RR, Bushuk W (1986) Relationship between lipid content and composition and loaf volume of twenty-six common spring wheats. Cereal Chem 63:327–331Google Scholar
  3. Botwright TL, Rebetzke GJ, Condon AG, Richards RA (2005) Influence of the gibberellin-sensitive Rht8 dwarfing gene on leaf epidermal cell dimensions and early vigour in wheat (Triticum aestivum L.). Ann Bot 95:631–639PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Branson CV, Frey KJ (1989a) Recurrent selection for groat oil content in oat. Crop Sci 29:1382–1387CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Branson CV, Frey KJ (1989b) Correlated response to recurrent selection for groat oil content in oats. Euphytica 43:21–28CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Brown CM, Alexander DE, Carmer SG (1966) Variation in oil content and its relation to other characters in oats (Avena sativa L.). Crop Sci 6:190–191CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Burdon RD (1977) Genetic correlation as a concept for studying genotype-environment interaction in forest tree breeding. Silvae Genet 26:168–175Google Scholar
  8. Campbell KG, Bergman CJ, Gualberto DG, Anderson JA, Giroux MJ, Hareland G, Fulcher RG, Sorrells ME, Finney PL (1998) Quantitative trait loci associated with kernel traits in a soft × hard wheat cross. Crop Sci 39:1184–1195CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Chung OK, hm JB, Ram, Park SH, Howitt CA (2009) Wheat lipids. In: Khan K, Shewry PR (eds) Wheat: chemistry and technology. AACC, St Paul, pp 363–399CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Clarke B, Liang R, Morell MK, Bird AR, Jenkins CLD, Li Z (2008) Gene expression in a starch synthase IIa mutant of barley: changes in the level of gene transcription and grain composition. Funct Integr Genomics 8:211–221PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Conway TF, Moffett GM (1963) Nuclear magnetic resonance for determining oil content of seeds. JAOCS 40:265–268Google Scholar
  12. Cullis BR, Thomson FM, Fisher JA, Gilmour AR, Thompson R (1996) The analysis of the NSW wheat variety database 2. Variance component estimation. Theor Appl Genet 92:28–39PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Dolde D, Vlahakis C, Hazebroek J (1999) Tocopherols in breeding lines and effects of planting location, fatty acid composition, and temperature during development. JAOCS 76:349–355Google Scholar
  14. Dudley JW, Lambert RJ (1992) Ninety generations of selection for oil and protein in maize. Maydica 37:81–87Google Scholar
  15. Feng L, Burton JW, Carter TE, Pantalone VR (2004) Recurrent half-sib selection with testcross evaluation for increased oil content in soybean. Crop Sci 44:63–69CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Frey KJ, Holland JB (1999) Nine cycles of recurrent selection for increased groat-oil content in oat. Crop Sci 39:1636–1641CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Groos C, Robet N, Bervas E, Charmet G (2003) Genetic analysis of grain protein-content, grain yield and thousand-kernel weight in bread wheat. Theor Appl Genet 106:1032–1040PubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Hallauer AR, Miranda JB (1981) Quantitative genetics in maize breeding, 2nd edn. Iowa St. Uni. Press, AmesGoogle Scholar
  19. Holland JB (2006) Estimating genotypic correlations and their standard errors using multivariate restricted maximum likelihood estimation with SAS Proc MIXED. Crop Sci 46:642–654CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Holland JB, Nyquist WE, Cervantes-Martinez CT (2003) Estimating and interpreting heritability for plant breeding: an update. Plant Breed Rev 22:9–111Google Scholar
  21. Igrejas G, Leroy P, Charmet G, Gaborit T, Marion D, Branlard G (2002) Mapping QTLs for grain hardness and puroindoline content in wheat (Triticum aestivum L.). Theor Appl Genet 106:19–27PubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Korol AB, Ronin YI, Itskovich AM, Peng J, Nevo E (2001) Enhanced efficiency of quantitative trait loci mapping analysis based on multivariate complexes of quantitative traits. Genetics 157:1789–1803PubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Lambert RJ, Alexander DE, Mollring EL, Wiggens B (1997) Selection for increased oil concentration in maize kernels and associated changes in several kernel traits. Maydica 42:39–43Google Scholar
  24. Lehmensiek A, Eckermann PJ, Verbyla AP, Appels R, Sutherland MW, Daggard GE (2005) Curation of wheat maps to improve map accuracy and QTL detection. Aust J Agric Res 56:1347–1354CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Lehmensiek A, Eckermann PJ, Verbyla AP, Appels R, Sutherland MW, Martin D, Daggard GE (2006) Flour yield QTLs in three Australian doubled haploid wheat populations. Aust J Agric Res 57:1115–1122CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. López-Castañeda C, Richards RA, Farquhar GD, Williamson RE (1996) Seed and seedling characteristics contributing to variation in early vigor among temperate cereals. Crop Sci 36:1257–1266CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Matsuo T, Satoh H, Yoon K, Omura T (1987) Oil content and fatty acid composition of a giant rice embryo mutant in rice. Jpn J Breed 37:185–191CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. McIntosh MS (1983) Analysis of combined experiments. Agron J 75:153–155CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Morrison WR (1977) Cereal lipids. Proc Nutr Soc 36:143–148PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Morrison WR (1978) Wheat lipid composition. Cereal Chem 55:548–558Google Scholar
  31. Morrison WR, Law CN, Wylie LJ, Coventry AM, Seekings J (1989) The effect of group 5 chromosomes on the free polar lipids and breadmaking quality of wheat. J Cereal Sci 9:41–51CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Panozzo JF, Hannah MC, O’Brien L, Bekes F (1993) The relationship of free lipids and flour protein to bread-making quality. J Cereal Sci 17:47–62CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Peng J, Ronin Y, Fahima T, Röder MS, Li Y, Nevo E, Korol A (2003) Domestication quantitative trait loci in Triticum dicoccoides, the progenitor of wheat. Proc Natl Acad Sci 100:2489–2494PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Prasad M, Kumar N, Kulwal PL, Roder MS, Balyan HS, Dhaliwal HS, Gupta PK (2003) QTL analysis for grain protein content using SSR markers and validation studies using NILs in bread wheat. Theor Appl Genet 106:659–667PubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. Price PB, Parsons JG (1975) Lipids of seven cereal grains. JAOCS 52:490–493PubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. Rebetzke GJ, Burton JW, Carter TC Jr, Wilson RF (1998) Changes in agronomic and seed quality characteristics with selection for reduced saturated fatty acid content in soybean seed. Crop Sci 38:297–302CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Rebetzke GJ, Botwright TL, Moore CS, Richards RA, Condon AG (2004) Genotypic variation in specific leaf area for genetic improvement of early vigour in wheat. Field Crops Res 88:179–189CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Rebetzke GJ, Lopez-Casteneda C, Botwright-Acuna T, Condon AG, Richards RA (2008) Inheritance of coleoptile tiller appearance and size in wheat. Aust J Agric Res 59:863–873CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Rebetzke GJ, Kirkegaard JA, Watt M, Richards RA (2014) Genetic vigour helps maintain superior leaf area development for wheat seedlings growing in uncultivated soils. Plant Soil 377:127–144CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Richards RA, Lukacs Z (2002) Seedling vigour in wheat-sources of variation for genetic and agronomic improvement. Aust J Agric Res 53:41–50CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Shen B, Allen WB, Zheng P, Li C, Glassman K, Ranch J, Tarczynski MC (2010) Expression of ZmLEC1 and ZmWRI1 increases seed oil production in maize. Plant Physiol 153:980–987PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Simmonds DH (1989) Wheat and wheat quality in Australia. CSIRO Publishing, QueenslandGoogle Scholar
  43. Spragg J (2010) Feed grain 2010 update report. JCS solutions Pty Ltd, Berwick Vic, AustraliaGoogle Scholar
  44. Voorrips RE (2002) MapChart: software for the graphical presentation of linkage maps and QTLs. J Hered 93:77–78PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Wassom JJ, Wong JC, Martinez E, King JJ, DeBaene J, Hotchkiss JR, Mikkilineni V, Bohn MO, Rocheford TR (2008) QTL associated with maize kernel oil, protein, and starch concentrations; kernel mass; and grain yield in Illinois high oil × B73 backcross-derived lines. Crop Sci 48:243–252CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Welch RW (1978) Genotypic variation in oil and protein in barley grain. J Sci Food Agric 29:953–958CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Wilcox JR, Shibles RM (2001) Interrelationships among seed quality attributes in soybean. Crop Sci 41:11–14CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Yang X, Guo Y, Yan J, Zhang J, Song T, Rocheford T, Li J (2010) Major and minor QTL and epistasis contribute to fatty acid compositions and oil concentration in high-oil maize. Theor Appl Genet 120:665–678PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Zhang J, Martin JM, Beecher B, Lu C, Hannah C, Wall ML, Altosaar I, Glroux M (2010) The ecotopic expression of the wheat Puroindoline genes increases germ size and seed oil content in transgenic corn. Plant Mol Biol 74:353–365PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. M. Moore
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • R. A. Richards
    • 1
  • G. J. Rebetzke
    • 1
  1. 1.CSIRO Plant IndustryCanberraAustralia
  2. 2.The University of SydneyCamperdownAustralia
  3. 3.Intergrain Pty LtdBibra LakeAustralia

Personalised recommendations