Wheat breeders select for qualitative and quantitative traits, the latter often detected as quantitative trait loci (QTL). It is, however, a long procedure from QTL discovery to the successful introduction of favourable alleles into new elite varieties and finally into farmers’ crops. As a proof of principle for this process, QTL for grain yield (GY), yield components, plant height (PH), ear emergence (EM), solid stem (SS) and yellow rust resistance (Yr) were identified in segregating UK bread wheat reference population, Avalon 9 Cadenza. Among the 163 detected QTL were several not reported before: 17 for GY, the major GYQTL on 2D; a major SS QTL on 3B; and Yr6 on 7B. Common QTL were identified on ten chromosomes, most interestingly, grain number (GN) was found to be associated with Rht-D1b; and GY and GN with a potential new allele of Rht8. The interaction of other QTL with GY and yield components was discussed in the context of designing a UK breeding target genotype. Desirable characteristics would be: similar PH
and EM to Avalon; Rht-D1b and Vrn-A1b alleles; high TGW and GN; long and wide grains; a large root system, resistance to diseases; and maximum GY. The potential of the identified QTL maximising transgressive segregation to produce a high-yielding and resilient genotype was demonstrated by simulation. Moreover, simulating breeding strategies with F2 enrichment revealed that the F2–DH procedure was superior to the RIL and the modified SSD procedure to achieve that genotype. The proposed strategies of parent selection and breeding methodology can be used as guidance for marker-assisted wheat breeding.
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