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Understanding the genetics of wheat quality using MAGIC populations
C. HOWITT (1), A. Verbyla (1), K. Verbyla (1), R. Appels (2), D. Diepeveen (3), L. Cato (4), T. Adriansz (4), M. Newberry (1) (1) CSIRO Agriculture, , Australia; (2) Murdoch University, , Australia; (3) Murdoch University and Department of Agriculture & Food WA, , Australia; (4) Australian Export Grains Innovation Centre, , Australia.

Wheat breeding requires assessment of both agronomic and quality parameters to ensure the varieties developed meet both farmers and end users requirements. Throughout the breeding process, grain and flour are valuable and scarce – a limiting resource. This limitation and the cost and complex nature of wheat based end-product evaluation mean quality assessment occurs late in the breeding cycle. This creates a bottle neck in wheat breeding programs and can result in agronomically advantageous lines being eliminated late in the breeding cycle. This represents a loss to breeders and growers, and thus robust genetic markers for end-product quality are required to mitigate against this. To identify robust markers of quality CSIRO undertook the development of Multi-parent Advanced Generation InterCross (MAGIC) populations capable of overcoming the limitations of bi-parental and association mapping populations. The resulting 4 and 8 parent MAGIC populations are presently being utilised in a multi-year, multi-site study to identify genetic markers of wheat quality. These assessments include test weight, grain protein, milling yield, water absorption, wet gluten content and straight dough baking. Three site years from the 4-parent, two from Eastern Australia, and one from Western Australia, and four site years (from both Eastern & Western Australia) from the 8-parent MAGIC population are being assessed. Here we present the results from the first analysis of this work and discuss the implications for enhancing breeding for quality traits.