Combining Forward and Reverse Genetics to Develop Wheat with Enhanced Health Benefits

Rapidly improving bioinformatics resources for wheat, e.g. the International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium ( chromosomesorted survey sequences, make it possible to start relating genes to traits in silico. In Table 46.2, the genes shown to be responsible for AX synthesis in wheat endosperm above are shown with their putative chromosome location, together with some published QTLs for DF or related traits in wheat. The causative alleles for these QTLs may be cis-elements controlling these genes or the genes themselves. As our understanding of which genes dictate DF content in wheat products improves, there are excellent prospects for efficient breeding of wheat varieties which deliver enhanced health benefits in the near future.

Table 46.2 Putative chromosomal location of AX synthetic genes (determined by blast against IWGSC chromosome survey sequences) and some published wheat QTLs; [A] meta-QTLs for DF (Quraishi et al. 2011) or [B] QTLs for AX (Nguyen et al. 2011)


Synthetic function


Homeologue expressiona


at this location


AX arabinosylation

Chr 6 L

B >A ~ D

Chr 6BL [A]


AX backbone

Chr 4S/L

A ~ D > B

Chr 4DL [B]


AX backbone

Chr 3 L

D > B ~A

Chr 3DL [A, B]

aDetermined by re-analyses of wheat endosperm RNA-Seq in Pellny et al. (2012)

Acknowledgments Our research described here was funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Science Research Council of the UK.