Temperature response of wheat affects final height and the timing of stem elongation under field conditions

Lukas Kronenberg, Steven Yates, Martin P. Boer, Norbert Kirchgessner, Achim Walter, Andreas Hund

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


In wheat, temperature affects the timing and intensity of stem elongation. Genetic variation for this process is therefore important for adaptation. This study investigates the genetic response to temperature fluctuations during stem elongation and its relationship to phenology and height. Canopy height of 315 wheat genotypes (GABI wheat panel) was scanned twice weekly in the field phenotyping platform (FIP) of ETH Zurich using a LIDAR. Temperature response was modelled using linear regressions between stem elongation and mean temperature in each measurement interval. This led to a temperature-responsive (slope) and a temperature-irresponsive (intercept) component. The temperature response was highly heritable (H2=0.81) and positively related to a later start and end of stem elongation as well as final height. Genome-wide association mapping revealed three temperature-responsive and four temperature-irresponsive quantitative trait loci (QTLs). Furthermore, putative candidate genes for temperature-responsive QTLs were frequently related to the flowering pathway in Arabidopsis thaliana, whereas temperature-irresponsive QTLs corresponded to growth and reduced height genes. In combination with Rht and Ppd alleles, these loci, together with the loci for the timing of stem elongation, accounted for 71% of the variability in height. This demonstrates how high-throughput field phenotyping combined with environmental covariates can contribute to a smarter selection of climate-resilient crops.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)700-717
JournalJournal of Experimental Botany
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2 Feb 2021


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