Elucidating the genetics of grain yield and stress-resilience in bread wheat using a large-scale genome-wide association mapping study with 55,568 lines

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Elucidating the genetics of grain yield and stress-resilience in bread wheat using a large-scale genome-wide association mapping study with 55,568 lines
Wheat grain yield (GY) improvement using genomic tools is important for achieving yield breakthroughs. To dissect the genetic architecture of wheat GY potential and stress-resilience, we have designed this large-scale genome-wide association study using 100 datasets, comprising 105,000 GY observations from 55,568 wheat lines evaluated between 2003 and 2019 by the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center and national partners. We report 801 GY-associated genotyping-by-sequencing markers significant in more than one dataset and the highest number of them were on chromosomes 2A, 6B, 6A, 5B, 1B and 7B. We then used the linkage disequilibrium (LD) between the consistently significant markers to designate 214 GY-associated LD-blocks and observed that 84.5% of the 58 GY-associated LD-blocks in severe-drought, 100% of the 48 GY-associated LD-blocks in early-heat and 85.9% of the 71 GY-associated LD-blocks in late-heat, overlapped with the GY-associated LD-blocks in the irrigated-bed planting environment, substantiating that simultaneous improvement for GY potential and stress-resilience is feasible. Furthermore, we generated the GY-associated marker profiles and analyzed the GY favorable allele frequencies for a large panel of 73,142 wheat lines, resulting in 44.5 million datapoints. Overall, the extensive resources presented in this study provide great opportunities to accelerate breeding for high-yielding and stress-resilient wheat varieties.

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