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Wheat GWAS Leads to Heat Tolerance Loci

In Communications Biology, a team from the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center and the Earlham Institute report on findings from a genome-wide association study centered on heat tolerance traits in wheat, which uncovered three heat tolerance-linked loci originating in exotic, wild relative plants. With information on 149 elite, landrace, or wild-related spring wheat lines grown in field conditions in the Sonora desert over two years, the investigators searched for marker trait associations specific to heat tolerance, highlighting introgressed sequences from the ancestral plant Aegilops tauschii and other exotic-derived heat tolerance loci before digging into the causal genes behind the associations. "These three markers can be deployed into marker-assisted breeding or introgression pipeline programmes to incorporate heat resilience traits into elite cultivars," the authors note. "The fact that no yield penalty was identified under more favorable conditions adds to their deployment in terms of yield stability under increasing temperatures."