Genetics of mycorrhizal symbiosis in winter wheat (Triticum aestivum)
Bread wheat (Triticum aestivum) is a major staple food and therefore of prime importance for feeding the Earth’s growing population. Mycorrhiza is known to improve plant growth, but although extensive knowledge concerning the interaction between mycorrhizal fungi and plants is available, genotypic differences concerning the ability of wheat to form mycorrhizal symbiosis and quantitative trait loci (QTLs) involved in mycorrhization are largely unknown. Therefore, a diverse set of 94 bread wheat genotypes was evaluated with regard to root colonization by arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. In order to identify genomic regions involved in mycorrhization, these genotypes were analyzed using the wheat 90k iSelect chip, resulting in 17 823 polymorphic mapped markers, which were used in a genome-wide association study. Significant genotypic differences (P < 0.0001) were detected in the ability to form symbiosis and 30 significant markers associated with root colonization, representing six QTL regions, were detected on chromosomes 3A, 4A and 7A, and candidate genes located in these QTL regions were proposed. The results reported here provide key insights into the genetics of root colonization by mycorrhizal fungi in wheat.