Kernel length (KL), kernel width (KW) and thousand-kernel weight (TKW) are key agronomic traits in wheat breeding. Chuannong16 (‘CN16’) is a commercial cultivar with significantly longer kernels than the line ‘20828’. To identify and characterize potential alleles from CN16 controlling KL, the previously developed recombinant inbred line (RIL) population derived from the cross ‘20828’ × ‘CN16’ and the genetic map constructed by the Wheat55K SNP array and SSR markers were used to perform quantitative trait locus/loci (QTL) analyses for kernel traits.
A total of 11 putative QTL associated with kernel traits were identified and they were located on chromosomes 1A (2 QTL), 2B (2 QTL), 2D (3 QTL), 3D, 4A, 6A, and 7A, respectively. Among them, three major QTL, QKL.sicau-2D, QKW.sicau-2D and QTKW.sicau-2D, controlling KL, KW and TKW, respectively, were detected in three different environments. Respectively, they explained 10.88–18.85%, 17.21–21.49% and 10.01–23.20% of the phenotypic variance. Further, they were genetically mapped in the same interval on chromosome 2DS. A previously developed kompetitive allele-specific PCR (KASP) marker KASP-AX-94721936 was integrated in the genetic map and QTL re-mapping finally located the three major QTL in a 1- cM region flanked by AX-111096297 and KASP-AX-94721936. Another two co-located QTL intervals for KL and TKW were also identified. A few predicted genes involved in regulation of kernel growth and development were identified in the intervals of these identified QTL. Significant relationships between kernel traits and spikelet number per spike and anthesis date were detected and discussed.
Three major and stably expressed QTL associated with KL, KW, and TKW were identified. A KASP marker tightly linked to these three major QTL was integrated. These findings provide information for subsequent fine mapping and cloning the three co-localized major QTL for kernel traits.