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Using Spectral Reflectance Indices for Selection in Winter Wheat

Spectral reflectance technology has recently opened up new possibilities to characterize traits that are resource-intensive or difficult to measure directly in large germplasm collections. Using spectral reflectance indices (SRIs) as surrogates for these traits allowed for screening of more germplasm over multiple target environments. Previous work determined SRI’s that had selectable genetic variations, strong associations with yield, and moderate to high efficiency of indirect selection in winter wheat adapted to the Pacific Northwest of the U.S.  

In a paper recently published in Crop Science, researchers report quantitative trait loci (QTL) for SRIs detected using genome-wide association analysis. The SRIs were derived from reflectance data, gathered at canopy level using a multispectral radiometer, on a panel of 402 elite winter wheat genotypes planted in irrigated, rainfed, and drought conditions. The QTL identified showed significant effects and positional proximity to different QTL for agronomic traits, and specifically, yield potential.

Given the need to increase yield potential, identified SRI’s can be used for indirect selection to identify breeding lines with high yield potential and to identify chromosome regions that contribute to yield and yield stability under variable environments.  This may assist selecting breeding lines for higher yield potential in earlier generations before formal yield trials occur.

Read the full article in Crop Science.    Free preview May 16 - 23