Variation at glutenin subunit loci, single kernel characterization and evaluation of grain protein in East African bread wheat varieties
Macharia, G.K.; Peña Bautista, R.J.; Simsek, S.; Anderson, J.A.
Wheat breeding programs worldwide aim at developing cultivars that meet end user quality attributes demanded by producers, processors, and consumers. Selecting from breeding populations created from well characterized parental germplasm provides the best opportunity of identifying cultivars that combine the best alleles and grain phenotypes for the desired technological applications. In this study, 216 bread wheat lines associated with Ethiopian and Kenyan breeding programs including a few founder lines were profiled for high molecular weight glutenin subunits and low molecular weight glutenin subunits by SDS-PAGE. Additionally, total crude protein, relative puroindoline content by SDS-PAGE, kernel diameter, kernel weight and kernel hardness by SKCS were determined. Extensive allelic variation at the glutenin subunit loci was found, with Glu–B1 and Glu–B3 having highest diversity across subpopulations. Relative to wild type cultivar ‘Alpowa-1-soft’, the founder line BW21 had the lowest puroindoline content. The frequencies of soft and very soft wheat classes were lowest in the Ethiopian subpopulation and highest among the Kenyan lines. Accordingly, 12 lines considered to have optimal combinations of glutenin subunit alleles and kernel characteristics were highlighted and recommended for cultivar improvement.