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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Pullman, Washington » WHGQ » Research » Research Project #445231

Research Project: Wheat and Barley Adaptation to a Changing Climate - Discovery of Genetic and Physiological Processes for Improved Crop Productivity and Quality

Location: Wheat Health, Genetics, and Quality Research

Project Number: 2090-21000-039-000-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated

Start Date: Mar 7, 2023
End Date: Mar 6, 2028

Obj 1-Define fundamental mechanisms controlling wheat and barley adaptation to environmental stresses that influence crop growth, productivity & grain quality, such as heat, cold stress, or drought. Sub 1A: Define the genetic, hormonal & biochemical mechanisms controlling grain dormancy, germination, emergence & preharvest sprouting tolerance. Sub 1B-Identify loci & environmental conditions leading to LMA & the expression of alpha-amylase in response to temperature & moisture stress during wheat grain development. Develop molecular & phenotyping methods to screen for LMA tolerance in breeding programs. Sub 1C-Determine the contribution of the C locus to resistance to environmental stress through effects on plant architecture, drought tolerance, preharvest sprouting via mutagenesis of club wheat germplasm. Obj 2-Understand the impact of climate change on wheat performance & falling number in dryland cropping systems using phenotypic characterization from multi-environment trials, statistical modeling & bioinformatics. Sub 2A-Perform falling number testing of annual WSU multi-location variety trials to identify varieties that are genetically susceptible to low FM, identify environments that induce low FN, obtain natural low FN grain samples for research. Sub 2B-Characterize phenotypic plasticity & genotype X environment X management interactions in wheat-based dryland cropping systems. Sub 2C-Provide grain with known FN values to be used to develop immunoassay & hyperspectral calibrations as industry-friendly methods to measure levels as indicator of FN in field, elevator & breeding programs. Obj 3-Develop & use methods for mapping, cloning & genomic selection to discover the function & interactions of genes involved in climate resilience, facilitate wheat & barley breeding. Sub 3A-Develop, promote genotyping by multiplex sequencing platforms as a tool for genetic analysis & genomic selection. Sub 3B-Use & contribute to public databases to accelerate genetic improvement of wheat & barley. Investigate the influence of the promoters on gene expression for traits related to performance & environmental resilience. Investigate the influence of the genes & promoters on gene expression for traits related to wheat & barley performance & environmental resilience. Sub 3C-Characterize the genetic architecture associated with wheat & barley adaptation to dryland cropping systems. Obj 4-Genetically improve wheat for resilience to changes in climate with a primary focus on plant growth, host-plant resistance, end-use, nutritional quality for soft white & club wheat. Sub 4A-Optimize cultivar development of club wheat, integrate genomic, phenomic, statistical tools for wheat improvement, initiate genomic selection pipelines for product development. Sub 4B-Population improvement-Multiple population improvement pipelines will be developed. Use genomic, phenomic & statistical tools to improve genetic variability for nutrition & end use quality, improve resistance to stripe & stem rust, improve soil borne disease resistance & improve falling numbers in wheat. Sub 4C-Generate novel variation for trait improvement by direct crosses of Ae tauschii to hexaploid wheat.

For Objective 1, analysis of quantitative trait loci will be used to associated the related traits that result in low falling number and seed dormancy, including late maturity alpha amylase expression, preharvest sprouting, and expression of the plant hormones abscisic acid and gibberellic acid, with genetic and environmental variation in populations segregating for these traits. In addition, the C (compactum) gene and its effects on spike architecture and dormancy will be fine mapped through linkage analysis and through the creation of near isogenic mutants lacking the gene, to determine if the previously reported stable falling number at the C locus is due to pleiotropy or linkage. Marker trait associations will be determined through identification of quantitative trait loci and through analysis of mutant genotypes with and without the trait. For Objective 2, multi environment trials will be re-analyzed together with climate factors. Mixed-models analyses will be conducted to discern patterns of environmental effects on wheat growth and grain production. A suite of critical agronomic and physiological traits will be measured. Loci associated with the trait values and the plasticity parameters will be identified and shared with wheat breeders to better understand how the interactions between genetics and environmental conditions determine wheat performance and physiologic activities. Spectroscopy will be used to identify trait responses that the human eye cannot measure and incorporated into these models. A new method of assessing grain damaged due to prematurely high alpha amylase levels will be developed using monoclonal antibody technology. For Objective 3, targeted amplicon sequencing will be used to identify variation for important traits in wheat and barley breeding programs in the western US. Exome capture and promoter sequencing will be conducted on panels of commercially important genotypes and results will be developed into user friendly web-based tools to collate and compare sequence data from multiple genotypes. The genetic architecture of adaptation to dryland cropping systems will be identified through genetic analysis of cultivars and breeding lines in multiple regional breeding programs. For objective 4, the efficiency of the development of new club wheat cultivars will be enhanced through genomic selection and predictive modelling of optimal crosses. Breeding lines will be assessed for response to biotic and abiotic stress, grain production, and grain quality in multi environment nurseries and through screening trials in controlled environments. Pre breeding for enhanced disease resistance and nutrition will be conducted by developing breeding pipelines to introgress important variation into adapted germplasm. Novel genetic variation will be created through wide crosses with Aegilops tauschii, the D-genome donor of wheat. Progeny from these crosses will be assessed for variation for disease resistance and mineral content in grain.