Introgression of wheat chromosome 2D or 5D into tritordeum leads to free-threshing habit.

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Hexaploid tritordeum is the amphiploid derived from the cross between the diploid wild barley Hordeum chilense and durum wheat. The non-free-threshing habit is a constraint to this species becoming a new crop. Three tritordeum lines (HT374, HT376, and HT382) showing the free-threshing habit were selected from crosses between tritordeum and bread wheat. All three lines were euploids, as revealed by mitotic chromosome counting. Genomic in situ hybridization analysis made it possible to distinguish differences among these lines. While the line HT382 carries only 10 chromosomes from H. chilense, the lines HT374 and HT376 have 12. These results suggest that HT382 is a double chromosome substitution line between H. chilense and the wheat D genome, while HT374 and HT376 each have one pair of H. chilense (Hch) chromosomes substituted by wheat D chromosomes. Molecular characterization revealed that HT382 is a 1D/(1Hch), 2D/(2Hch) chromosome substitution line, whereas HT374 and HT376 have 5D/(5Hch) substitutions. On the basis of previous knowledge, it seems that the absence of chromosome 2Hch or 5Hch is more important for producing the free-threshing habit than the presence of chromosome 2D or 5D, while chromosome 1Hch seems to be unrelated to the trait. These free-threshing tritordeum lines constitute an important advance in the tritordeum breeding program.