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Crop Science Abstract -

Selection for Spikelet Fertility in a Semidwarf Durum Wheat Population1


This article in CS

  1. Vol. 26 No. 4, p. 691-693
    Received: Sept 11, 1985

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  1. R. G. Cantrell and
  2. E. S. Haro-Arias2



Genetic variability for spikelet fertility is present in durum wheat (Triticum turgidum L. var. durum). Divergent selection for spikelet fertility was practiced in a semidwarf durum population derived from a single cross of parents that differ for number of kernels/spikelet to determine the effect of indirect selection for this yield component on grain yield. The group selected for high spikelet fertility exhibited significantly higher numbers of kernels/spikelet and kernels/spike than the random group and the groups selected for low fertility. Selection for spikelet fertility did not result in a significant change in grain yield, but test weight and kernel weight were significantly lower in the groups of families selected for high spikelet fertility. This association of yield components was evident in the phenotypic correlations on the random group of F4 and F5 families where kernels/ spikelet and kernels/spike were negatively associated with kernel weight (r = −0.52 to r = −0.86). Variation for tiller number was limited in the random group of F4s in 1983 and the F5s in 1984. Tiller number was negatively correlated with spikelets/spike in both 1983 (r = −0.45) and 1984 (r = −0.59) but was not associated with yield or other yield components. The lack of yield response from early generation selection for spikelet fertility indicates that the full yield potential of increased sink size via this yield component is difficult to obtain in these North Dakota environments. A selection program should therefore involve some type of simultaneous selection for several yield components or yield per se.

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