Genome-Wide Association Study in Bread Wheat Identifies Genomic Regions Associated with Grain Yield and Quality under Contrasting Water Availability

Nikolai Govta, Iris Polda, Hanan Sela, Yafit Cohen, Diane M. Beckles, Abraham B. Korol, Tzion Fahima, Yehoshua Saranga, Tamar Krugman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The objectives of this study were to identify genetic loci in the bread wheat genome that would influence yield stability and quality under water stress, and to identify accessions that can be recommended for cultivation in dry and hot regions. We performed a genome-wide association study (GWAS) using a panel of 232 wheat accessions spanning diverse ecogeographic regions. Plants were evaluated in the Israeli Northern Negev, under two environments: water-limited (D; 250 mm) and well-watered (W; 450 mm) conditions; they were genotyped with ~71,500 SNPs derived from exome capture sequencing. Of the 14 phenotypic traits evaluated, 12 had significantly lower values under D compared to W conditions, while the values for two traits were higher under D. High heritability (H2 = 0.5–0.9) was observed for grain yield, spike weight, number of grains per spike, peduncle length, and plant height. Days to heading and grain yield could be partitioned based on accession origins. GWAS identified 154 marker-trait associations (MTAs) for yield and quality-related traits, 82 under D and 72 under W, and identified potential candidate genes. We identified 24 accessions showing high and/or stable yields under D conditions that can be recommended for cultivation in regions under the threat of global climate change.

Original languageEnglish
Article number10575
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number18
StatePublished - 12 Sep 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by the European Community, Seventh Framework Program (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement N°FP7-613556 (Whealbi); and the US-Israel Binational Agricultural Research and Development Fund (BARD) Project IS-5198-19. Y.S. is the incumbent of the Haim Gvati Chair in Agriculture.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors.


  • grain protein content (GPC)
  • grain yield
  • GWAS
  • marker trait association (MTA)
  • quantitative trait loci (QTL)
  • Triticum aestivum L
  • water-limited

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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