This study dissected and validated a QTL cluster associated with thousand grain weight on chromosome 4B using multiple near-isogenic lines in common wheat.


Grain size and weight are crucial components of wheat yield. Previously, we identified a QTL cluster for thousand grain weight (TGW) on chromosome 4B using the Nongda3338 (ND3338)/Jingdong6 (JD6) doubled haploid population. Here, near-isogenic lines (NILs) in the ND3338 background were developed to dissect and validate the QTL cluster. Based on six independent BC3F3:4 heterogeneous inbred families, the 4B QTL cluster was divided into two linked QTL intervals (designated 4B.1 and 4B.2 QTL). For the 4B.1 QTL, the Rht-B1 gene, of which Rht-B1b allele reduces plant height (PH) by 21.18–29.34 cm (34.34–53.71%), was demonstrated to be the most likely candidate gene with pleiotropic effects on grain size and TGW. For the 4B.2 QTL, the NILJD6 consistently showed an increase in TGW of 3.51–7.68 g (8.84–22.77%) compared with NILND3338 across different field trials, along with a significant increase in PH of 2.26–6.71 cm (3.92–12.01%). Moreover, both QTL intervals had a larger effect on grain width than on grain length. Additionally, the first significant difference in 100-grain fresh weight and 100-grain dry weight between the NIL pairs of the 4B.1 QTL interval (Rht-B1) was observed at 6 days after pollination (DAP), while the differences were first visible at 30 DAP for the 4B.2 QTL interval. Collectively, our work provides a new example of QTL dissection for grain weight in wheat and lays a foundation for further map-based cloning of the major QTL that have potential applications in wheat molecular breeding for high yield.