The canopy leaves including the top three, i.e., the flag, the 2nd and 3rd from the top, are important for photosynthesis and grain yield of wheat. Molecular markers associated with traits of these leaves should be helpful for the high-yielding breeding. In this study, 1366 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) markers covering the whole genome of durum wheat were used to genotype 150 cultivars collected from 46 countries and regions in the world. Leaf length, leaf width and chlorophyll content of the top three leaves were measured, respectively, in three consecutive years. Association analyses were performed on the leaf traits and SNP markers. A total of 120 SNP marker associations were detected on 13 of the 14 chromosomes. Among these markers, 83 were associated with the canopy leaf traits, 10 with 1000-grain weight, and 29 with kernel number per spike. This study is helpful for better understanding the potential and genetic basis of functional leaves, and facilitates pyramiding of the favorable alleles using marker assisted selection for ideal plant-type and high photosynthesis efficiency in durum wheat breeding.
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© 2018 Huang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
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