Genome-wide association study reveals distinct genetic associations related to leaf hair density in two lineages of wheat-wild relative Aegilops tauschii.Sci Rep. 2022 10 19; 12(1):17486.SR
Wild relatives of modern crops represent a promising source of genetic variation that can be mined for adaptations to climate change. Aegilops tauschii, the D-sub-genome progenitor of bread wheat (Triticum aestivum), constitutes a reservoir of genetic diversity for improving bread wheat performance and environmental resilience. Leaf hairiness plays an essential biological role in plant defense against biotic and abiotic stress. We investigated the natural variation in leaf hair density (LHD) among 293 Ae. tauschii accessions. Genome-wide association studies were performed for LHD with 2430 and 3880 DArTseq derived single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers in two lineages of this species, TauL1 and TauL2, respectively. In TauL1, three marker-trait associations (MTAs) were located on chromosome 2D, whereas in TauL2, eight MTAs were identified, two associations were localized on each of the chromosomes 2D, 3D, 5D, and 7D. The markers explained phenotypic variation (R2) from 9 to 13% in TauL1 and 11 to 36% in TauL2. The QTLs identified in chromosomes 2D and 5D might be novel. Our results revealed more rapid and independent evolution of LHD in TauL2 compared to TauL1. The majority of LHD candidate genes identified are associated with biotic and abiotic stress responses. This study highlights the significance of intraspecific diversity of Ae. tauschii to enhance cultivated wheat germplasm.