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Crop Science Abstract -

Selection for Winterhardiness in Wheat. III. Screening Methods


This article in CS

  1. Vol. 21 No. 6, p. 896-901
    Received: Jan 26, 1981

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  1. D. B. Fowler,
  2. L. V. Gusta and
  3. N. J. Tyler



Thirty-four biochemical, physiological, and morphological characters of winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) were evaluated to determine their usefulness in winter survival prediction tests. Differences among cold acclimated plants from genotypes with a range of cold hardiness potential were significant for most of the characters evaluated. Close linear associations were found among many of these characters indicating that there are a number of possible screens which could be utilized as a supplement to field survival trials. However, at best, they are very coarse screens and, for differences of practical concern, size of experimental errors become a major limitation to their usefulness in selecting for field survival potential. Estimates of field survival (FSI) and LT50 had the smallest relative experimental errors and the highest heritability values. Crown LT50 estimates also gave the highest correlation with FSI. However, because LT50 is a destructive test which requires a large number of plants, it is limited to nonsegregating populations, Tissue water content and LT50 explained similar variability in FSI. Because tissue water content was not measured with as great a precision as LT50, it would appear to be less useful as a screen. However, when combined with a measure of plant erectness, tissue water content provided nearly as much information on FSI as did LT50. Both leaf water content and plant erectness can be measured without sacrificing entire plants and therefore they should be helpful winter hardiness screens for use by plant breeders.

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