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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Wooster, Ohio » Corn, Soybean and Wheat Quality Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #398175

Research Project: Enhancement of Eastern U.S. Wheat Quality, Genetics and Marketability

Location: Corn, Soybean and Wheat Quality Research

Title: Gene expression differences related to pre-harvest sprouting uncovered in related wheat varieties by RNAseq analysis

item Penning, Bryan

Submitted to: Plant Gene
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/13/2023
Publication Date: 1/18/2023
Citation: Penning, B. 2023. Gene expression differences related to pre-harvest sprouting uncovered in related wheat varieties by RNAseq analysis. Plant Gene. 33. Article #100404.

Interpretive Summary: Damage to wheat seeds from pre-harvest sprouting occurs when cold or wet conditions happen in the field after wheat matures but before it can be harvested. This leads to lower crop prices paid to farmers or outright rejection of a crop because flour from the sprouted wheat grain will produce lower quality baked goods. Much is known about the climatic conditions and physiological changes causing pre-harvest sprouting, but little is known about the underling genes. This research found new genes that can help researchers to understand why some wheat varieties are more resistant to pre-harvest sprouting than others. This will ultimately lead to new targets for wheat breeders to reduce the susceptibility of wheat varieties to pre-harvest sprouting, which would contribute to higher yield, quality and value of wheat grain. This research also develops a strategy to reduce the number of genes not related to pre-harvest sprouting that are observed which improves the chances of finding relevant genes. The employed strategy may prove useful for scientists working on other plants with other desired characteristics.

Technical Abstract: Damage from pre-harvest sprouting leads to lower quality and prices or rejection of wheat grain by reducing Falling Number. In previous studies, the changes in physical and chemical characteristics of wheat grain by pre-harvest sprouting is well studied where few genes controlling it have been identified. To explore their interaction, more genes must be identified. RNAseq analysis was performed on two varieties of soft red winter wheat sharing 82% of 1978 markers with significantly different Falling Numbers. Here, RNAseq analysis revealed 48 genes from eight families with a likely function related to pre-harvest sprouting. Few genes may be a part of the regulatory pathway controlling seed germination while others appear to be downstream germination-related genes. Gene under study, MFT, was previously associated with pre-harvest sprouting in wheat. Whereas FLC, potentially part of the regulatory pathway, was upregulated only in the resistant line (Scotty) at 35'days after anthesis under conditions favoring pre-harvest sprouting. Three other gene families totaling 11 genes had a similar expression pattern.