Genetic control of grain amino acid composition in a UK soft wheat mapping population.

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Wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) is a major source of nutrients for populations across the globe, but the amino acid composition of wheat grain does not provide optimal nutrition. The nutritional value of wheat grain is limited by low concentrations of lysine (the most limiting essential amino acid) and high concentrations of free asparagine (precursor to the processing contaminant acrylamide). There are currently few available solutions for asparagine reduction and lysine biofortification through breeding. In this study, we investigated the genetic architecture controlling grain free amino acid composition and its relationship to other traits in a Robigus × Claire doubled haploid population. Multivariate analysis of amino acids and other traits showed that the two groups are largely independent of one another, with the largest effect on amino acids being from the environment. Linkage analysis of the population allowed identification of quantitative trait loci (QTL) controlling free amino acids and other traits, and this was compared against genomic prediction methods. Following identification of a QTL controlling free lysine content, wheat pangenome resources facilitated analysis of candidate genes in this region of the genome. These findings can be used to select appropriate strategies for lysine biofortification and free asparagine reduction in wheat breeding programs.