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Title: Microsatellite Markers for Kernel Color Genes in Wheat

item Souza, Edward

Submitted to: Crop Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/5/2007
Publication Date: 7/1/2008
Citation: Sherman, J.K., Souza, E.J., See, D., Talbert, L.E. 2008. Microsatellite Markers for Kernel Color Genes in Wheat. Crop Science. 48:1419-1424.

Interpretive Summary: Red pigment genes are important distinguishing characteristics of grain that are used to define the market class of wheat samples around the world. Red pigment genes also appear to be causal in the reduction of two grain quality problems, synthesis of mycotoxins (such as Deoxynivalenol), and pre-harvest sprouting of grain. Distinguishing the red genes from each other is impossible on a visual basis. Also impossible is the selection for grain color prior to maturity, for example at flowering for selection of crosses. Molecular markers for color will increase the precision of breeding for specific market classes and will improve the ability to improve wheat grain quality.

Technical Abstract: New market opportunities have resulted in an interest in development of hard white wheat cultivars to complement the traditional hard red cultivars. The establishment of hard white wheat as a viable alternative for growers has been impeded by several factors, one of which is that new hard white wheat cultivars may not be competitive with hard red cultivars. This is due to that fact that most breeding programs devote more resources to hard red wheat, and that the genetics of kernel color makes rapid conversion of red to white kernel color problematic. Three homoeologous loci control kernel color with red being dominant, and a single red allele is sufficient to cause the kernel to be classified as red. A rapid conversion of red-seeded genotypes to white-seeded types would be facilitated by the use of molecular markers to help select for the recessive alleles for white color. In this experiment, we developed three populations that were segregating at only one of each of three respective color loci, being homozygous recessive at the other two. F2 plants or recombinant inbred lines were assayed for kernel color and screened with a series of microsatellite markers. Linked microsatellite markers were identified for all loci. A validation experiment was established with a population of 1786 F2 plants from a cross between a hard red by hard white cross. The markers were 100% diagnostic for the white-seeded phenotype in this population. Thus, the markers will find utility in backcrossing programs to convert red-seeded wheat to white.