Identification of quantitative trait loci associated with nitrogen use efficiency in winter wheat


Maintaining winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) productivity with more efficient nitrogen (N) management will enable growers to increase profitability and reduce the negative environmental impacts associated with nitrogen loss. Wheat breeders would therefore benefit greatly from the identification and application of genetic markers associated with nitrogen use efficiency (NUE). To investigate the genetics underlying N response, two bi-parental mapping populations were developed and grown in four site-seasons under low and high N rates. The populations were derived from a cross between previously identified high NUE parents (VA05W-151 and VA09W-52) and a shared common low NUE parent, 'Yorktown.' The Yorktown x VA05W-151 population was comprised of 136 recombinant inbred lines while the Yorktown x VA09W-52 population was comprised of 138 doubled haploids. Phenotypic data was collected on parental lines and their progeny for 11 N-related traits and genotypes were sequenced using a genotyping-by-sequencing platform to detect more than 3,100 high quality single nucleotide polymorphisms in each population. A total of 130 quantitative trait loci (QTL) were detected on 20 chromosomes, six of which were associated with NUE and N-related traits in multiple testing environments. Two of the six QTL for NUE were associated with known photoperiod (Ppd-D1 on chromosome 2D) and disease resistance (FHB-4A) genes, two were reported in previous investigations, and one QTL, QNue.151-1D, was novel. The NUE QTL on 1D, 6A, 7A, and 7D had LOD scores ranging from 2.63 to 8.33 and explained up to 18.1% of the phenotypic variation. The QTL identified in this study have potential for marker-assisted breeding for NUE traits in soft red winter wheat.