J Syst Evol ›› 2014, Vol. 52 ›› Issue (6): 735-742.DOI: 10.1111/jse.12110

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Synthetic hexaploid wheat enhances variation and adaptive evolution of bread wheat in breeding processes

1,2Jun LI 1,2Hong-Shen WAN 1,2Wu-Yun YANG*   

  1. 1(Crop Research Institute, Sichuan Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Chengdu 610066, China)
    2(Key Laboratory of Wheat Biology and Genetic Improvement on Southwestern China, Ministry of Agriculture, Chengdu 610066, China)
  • Received:2014-04-28 Published:2014-11-13

Abstract: Synthetic hexaploid wheat (SHW) that combines novel and elite genes from the tetraploid wheat Triticum turgidum L. and wild ancestor Aegilops tauschii Coss., has been used to genetically improve hexaploid common wheat. The abundant genetic diversity in SHW can effectively make breakthroughs in wheat genetic improvement through the inclusion of increased variation. In this paper, we reviewed the current advances in research and utilization of the primary SHW lines and SHW-derived wheat varieties that have enhanced evolution of modern wheat under conditions of natural and artificial selection in southwestern China. Using primary SHW lines, four high-yielding wheat varieties have been developed. In addition, using the SHW-derived varieties as breeding parents, 12 new wheat varieties were also developed. Results of genotype–phenotype and fingerprint analysis showed that the introgressed alleles from SHW lines have contributed a great number of elite characters to the new wheat varieties, and these elite characters include disease resistance, more spikes per plant, more grains per spike, larger grains, and higher grain-yield potential. We found that the primary SHW lines and SHW-derived varieties have identifiable effects to enhance genetic variation and adaptive evolution of modern hexaploid wheat, which significantly increased the grain yields of hexaploid wheat in recent years. These findings have significant implications in the breeding of high-yielding wheat varieties resistant to biotic and abiotic stresses using SHW as genetic resources.

Key words: adaptive evolution, Aegilops tauschii, introgression, synthetic hexaploid wheat, wheat breeding.