This study aimed to advance our understanding of the genetic mechanisms underlying morphological traits of the flag leaves of wheat (Triticum aestivum L.).


A recombinant inbred line (RIL) population derived from ND3331 and the Tibetan semi-wild wheat Zang1817 was used to identify quantitative trait loci (QTLs) controlling flag leaf length (FLL), flag leaf width (FLW), flag leaf area (FLA), and flag leaf angle (FLANG). Using an available simple sequence repeat genetic linkage map, 23 putative QTLs for FLL, FLW, FLA, and FLANG were detected on chromosomes 1B, 2B, 3A, 3D, 4B, 5A, 6B, 7B, and 7D. Individual QTL explained 4.3–68.52% of the phenotypic variance in different environments. Four QTLs for FLL, two for FLW, four for FLA, and five for FLANG were detected in at least two environments. Positive alleles of 17 QTLs for flag leaf-related traits originated from ND3331 and 6 originated from Zang1817. QTLs with pleiotropic effects or multiple linked QTL were also identified on chromosomes 1B, 4B, and 5A; these are potential target regions for fine-mapping and marker-assisted selection in wheat breeding programs.