The effect of photoperiod genes and flowering time on yield and yield stability in durum wheat
This study analysed the effect of flowering time as influenced by photoperiod sensitivity genes on yield and yield stability in durum wheat. Twenty-three spring genotypes harbouring different allele combinations at Ppd-A1 and Ppd-B1 were grown in 15 field experiments at three sites at latitudes from 41° to 19° N (Spain, Mexico-North and Mexico-South). Low temperature and solar radiation before flowering and long day length during grain-filling characteristic for the Spanish site resulted in high grain number/m2 (GN) and yield (GY), while a moderate GN combined with high solar radiation during grain-filling at Mexico-North led to heavier grains. Allele combination GS100-Ppd-A1a/Ppd-B1a reduced the flowering time up to nine days when compared with Ppd-A1b/Ppd-B1a. Differences in flowering time caused by Ppd-A1/Ppd-B1 allele combinations did not affect yield. Combinations GS105-Ppd-A1a/Ppd-B1b and Ppd-A1b/Ppd-B1b resulted in the highest GN, linked to spikelets/spike, which was higher in GS105-Ppd-A1a/Ppd-B1b due to more grains/spikelet. Flowering time caused by Eps had a minor effect on GN, spikes/m2 and grains/spike, but late flowering resulted in reduced grain weight and GY. Allele combinations harbouring alleles conferring a similar photoperiod sensitivity response at Ppd-A1 and Ppd-B1 resulted in greater yield stability than combinations that carry alleles conferring a different response. Allele combination GS100-Ppd-A1a/Ppd-B1a was the most suitable in terms of yield and yield stability of durum wheat cultivated under irrigation within the studied latitudes.