Kanat Yermekbayev

Postgraduate Researcher Designing Future Wheat

As adaptation is broad sense and complex trait which is controlled by many genes, including Ppd, Vrn and Rht, the aim of Kanat’s PhD study is to understand better the genetic backgrounds of those genes

He is particularly interested in plant height genes and have a question ‘how those genes should be fine-tuned in order to increase wheat adaptation to specific wheat growing environments of the globe and manipulate final grain yield to fulfil the demand of worlds’ growing population’? Successful completion of the aims of research work will contribute to the world’s future food security.

To address the question and achieve set goals, segregating or mapping population of bread wheat, particularly Recombinant Inbred Lines (RILs), have been developed from the cross of spring wheat cultivars, Pamyati Azieva (Kazakhstan) and Paragon (UK), through Single Seed Descent (SSD) bulk method which is widely used among plant breeders.

RILs are a powerful tool for the mapping of genes and are being successfully used for identification and validation of QTLs (quantitative trait loci) underpinning central agronomic traits of an important staple cereals such as wheat.

So far, RILs have been phenotype in controlled/uncontrolled environments and genotyped with Illumina 15K iSelect genotyping platform. As a result of integration of phenotypic and genotypic data several QTLs have been found for important plant characteristics including two QTLs for plant height which were stable in both environments.

The precise introgression of these two plant height genes into one common genetic background using proper MAS enabled us development Near Isogenic Lines (NILs) of wheat. To see the pure effect of those genes on wheat adaptation, NILs will be tested in the UK and Kazakhstan.

Alongside with NILs, recombinants for the QTL region are being developed and the exomes of parents are captured so as to identify candidate genes and putative causal polymorphisms.