Molecular Breeding

, Volume 26, Issue 4, pp 573–582 | Cite as

Genetic regulation of developmental phases in winter wheat

  • Yihua Chen
  • Brett F. Carver
  • Shuwen Wang
  • Shuanghe Cao
  • Liuling Yan


The orderly development of winter wheat through its life cycle can be marked at three stages: stem elongation, heading date, and physiological maturity. The duration of a developmental phase between two stages is important in yield component generation. In this study the three developmental stages were characterized and 350 markers were mapped in a population of recombinant inbred lines (RILs) generated from a cross between two winter wheat cultivars (‘Jagger’ and ‘2174’). Three major QTLs were found to control variation in developmental process, and each of them was tightly associated with a known flowering gene, VRN-A1 on chromosome 5A, PPD-D1 on chromosome 2D, and VRN-D3 on chromosome 7D. The average contribution of the gene marker for each QTL to the total phenotypic variation (R 2) was evaluated over 3 years. The effect of VRN-A1 ranged from 21.5% at stem elongation to 17.4% at physiological maturity. The effect of PPD-D1 was minor (6.7%) at stem elongation but increased to 29.7% at heading and 20.1% at physiological maturity. The effect of VRN-D3 was not detected at stem elongation but increased to 14.6% at heading and to 20.5% at physiological maturity. Hence, the VRN-A1 locus, the PPD-D1 locus, and the VRN-D3 locus had greatest impact on development at stem elongation, heading date, and physiological maturity, respectively. Whereas the Jagger VRN-A1 and VRN-D3 alleles accelerated development, the Jagger PPD-D1 allele delayed the developmental process due to its sensitivity to photoperiod. Our findings suggest that through the appropriate combination of alleles at these three loci one would be able to regulate the various developmental phases to accommodate different agricultural needs.


Stem elongation Flowering time Physiological maturity, vernalization, photoperiod 



This study was supported by the National Research Initiative of the USDA-Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service, grant number 2006-55606-16629 (CAP) and grant number 2007-35301-18188, the Oklahoma Center of Advanced Science and Technology (OCAST), the Oklahoma Wheat Research Foundation, and the Oklahoma Agricultural Experiment Station.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yihua Chen
    • 1
  • Brett F. Carver
    • 1
  • Shuwen Wang
    • 1
  • Shuanghe Cao
    • 1
  • Liuling Yan
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Plant and Soil SciencesOklahoma State UniversityStillwaterUSA

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