The identification of new candidate genes Triticum aestivum FLOWERING LOCUS T3-B1 (TaFT3-B1) and TARGET OF EAT1 (TaTOE1-B1) controlling the short day photoperiod response in bread wheat
Perception of photoperiod changes enables plants to flower under optimum conditions for survival. We used doubled haploid populations of crosses between Avalon × Cadenza, Charger × Badger and Spark × Rialto and identified short day flowering time response quantitative trait loci (QTL) on wheat chromosomes 1BS and 1BL. We used synteny between Brachypodium distachyon and wheat to identify potential candidates for both QTL. The 1BL QTL peak coincided with TaFT3-B1, a homologue of the barley gene HvFT3, the most likely candidate gene. The 1BS QTL peak coincided with homologues of Arabidopsis thaliana SENSITIVITY TO RED LIGHT REDUCED 1, WUSCHEL-like and RAP2.7, which is also known as Zea mays TARGET OF EAT1, named TaSRR1-B1, TaWUSCHELL-B1 and TaTOE1-B1, respectively. Gene expression assays suggest that TaTOE1-B1 and TaFT3-B1 are expressed more during short days. We identified four alleles of TaFT3-B1 and three alleles of TaTOE1-B1. We studied the effect of these alleles in the Watkins and GEDIFLUX diversity panels using 936 and 431 accessions, respectively. Loss of TaFT3-B1 by deletion was associated with late flowering. Increased TaFT3-B1 copy number was associated with early flowering, suggesting that TaFT3-B1 promotes flowering. Significant association was observed in the GEDIFLUX collection for TaTOE1-B1, a putative flowering repressor.