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Plant sciences, sustainable farming systems and food quality

Estimation and utilisation of glutenin gene effects from the analysis of unbalanced data from wheat breeding programs

H. A. Eagles, G. J. Hollamby, N. N. Gororo and R. F. Eastwood

Australian Journal of Agricultural Research 53(4) 367 - 377
Published: 08 April 2002


Glutenins are a major determinant of dough characteristics in wheat. These proteins are determined by genes at 6 loci (Glu genes), with multiple alleles present in most breeding programs. This study was conducted to determine whether estimates of allele effects for the important dough rheological characters, maximum dough resistance (Rmax) and dough extensibility, could be determined from aggregated data from southern Australian wheat breeding programs using statistical techniques appropriate for unbalanced data.

From a 2-stage analysis of 3226 samples of 1926 cultivars and breeding lines, estimates of Rmax and extensibility effects were obtained, first for the lines, and then for 31 glutenin alleles. Glutenin genes did not determine flour protein concentration, and this character was used as a covariate. Rankings of the estimates of Rmax for the alleles were similar to the relative scores for dough strength reported from previous studies, providing strong evidence that the analysis of a large, unbalanced data set from applied wheat breeding programs can provide reliable estimates.

All 2-way interactions between loci were present for 18 of the alleles. Analyses including interactions showed that epistasis was important for both Rmax and extensibility, especially between the Glu-B1 locus coding for high molecular weight glutenins and the Glu-A3 and Glu-B3 loci coding for low molecular weight glutenins. Because of the complexity of these interactions, similar values of Rmax and extensibility were predicted for diverse combinations of alleles. This implied that the practical application of glutenin genes in applied wheat breeding would be greatly enhanced by computer software which can predict dough rheology characteristics from glutenin allele classifications.

Keywords: dough rheology, REML, Rmax, extensibility, epistasis, flour protein.

© CSIRO 2002

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