Understanding Wheat Traits Under Heat Stress for Better Crop Resilience

Greg Howard
22nd May, 2024

Understanding Wheat Traits Under Heat Stress for Better Crop Resilience

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • Researchers from Southern Illinois University studied 200 wheat lines to find heat-tolerant varieties
  • Some wheat lines maintained better grain yield and biomass under heat stress
  • Identifying these heat-tolerant lines can help breed new wheat varieties that withstand rising temperatures
The increasing impacts of heat stress on wheat production due to climate change have necessitated the development of heat-resilient crop varieties. To address this issue, researchers from Southern Illinois University conducted a study to evaluate two hundred recombinant inbred lines (RILs) derived from a cross between WH711 and WH1021. These lines were assessed in a randomized block design (RBD) with two replications at CCSHAU, Hisar, during the 2018-19 growing season under both heat stress and non-stress conditions[1]. Heat stress was induced by altering the date of sowing so that the grain filling stage coincided with elevated temperatures. This method ensured that the plants experienced heat stress during a critical phase of their development, allowing the researchers to accurately assess their resilience. Previous studies have highlighted the complexity of thermal stress in wheat and its detrimental effects on various physiological and biochemical traits. For instance, a study conducted in the northwestern plain zones (NWPZ) of India identified significant variations in traits such as root and shoot weight, relative water content, and chlorophyll content under heat stress[2]. Another study examined the combined effects of drought and heat stress on wheat, revealing significant reductions in agronomic traits like plant height and grain yield, as well as physiological parameters like photosynthesis and stomatal conductance[3]. In the current study, the researchers aimed to build on these findings by focusing specifically on heat stress and its impact on wheat during the grain filling stage. The evaluation of the 200 RILs involved measuring various traits to determine their heat tolerance. These traits included grain yield, biomass, and physiological parameters such as photosynthesis rate and stomatal conductance. The results indicated that some RILs exhibited higher heat tolerance, maintaining better grain yield and biomass under heat stress conditions compared to others. This finding is consistent with earlier research, which showed that certain wheat genotypes could retain their physiological and biochemical equilibrium under stress[3]. Additionally, the study confirmed that heat stress significantly reduced photosynthesis and stomatal conductance, aligning with previous observations[4]. The identification of heat-tolerant RILs in this study provides valuable insights for wheat breeding programs. By selecting and breeding these resilient lines, it is possible to develop new wheat varieties that can better withstand the increasing temperatures associated with climate change. This approach not only enhances wheat productivity but also contributes to food security in regions prone to heat stress. In conclusion, the study conducted by Southern Illinois University underscores the importance of developing heat-resilient wheat varieties. By evaluating a large number of RILs under controlled heat stress conditions, the researchers were able to identify lines with superior tolerance, paving the way for future breeding efforts. These findings build on previous research and offer practical solutions to mitigate the adverse effects of climate change on wheat production.

GeneticsBiochemPlant Science


Main Study

1) Unlocking genetic insights: Evaluating wheat RILs for physiobiochemical traits under terminal heat stress conditions

Published 21st May, 2024


Related Studies

2) Physio-biochemical characterization of wheat genotypes under temperature stress.


3) Physiomorphic and molecular-based evaluation of wheat germplasm under drought and heat stress.


4) Wheat multiple synthetic derivatives: a new source for heat stress tolerance adaptive traits.


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