Agronomy and Horticulture Department


Date of this Version



Plant Genome. 2020;13:e20032.



This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License. © 2020 The Authors.


Classical plant breeding has been instrumental in changing the genetic makeup of crop plants for better ecological adaptation and improved quality. This paper provides insights of the genomic changes effected in hard winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) through decades of breeding and selection in the Great Plains of the United States. Population structure and differentiation analyses were conducted on 185 wheat cultivars released from 1943 to 2013. Cultivars were grouped into four distinct clusters using discriminant analysis of principal components (DAPC). One of the clusters was unique in that 15 out of the 18 individuals were recent releases (2000–2010), while 12 of the 18 shared the cultivar ‘Jagger’ in their genetic background. Jagger carries a 2NS/2AS translocation segment from Aegilops ventricosa, an important segment for resistance to several foliar diseases. Using the outlier approach,Wright’s population fixation index (Fst) identified 450 loci that were directionally selected. The largest signature of selection was found on chromosome 2A. Genetic diversity was high while the inbreeding coefficient was low, indicating extensive hybridization and germplasm exchange among breeding programs within the region. Foliar disease pressure and selection for resistance helped shape the microevolution of wheat in the southern Great Plains. The results showed that high genetic diversity remains in hard winter wheat cultivars adapted to the Great Plains of the USA, and modern plant breeding did not cause any sizable reduction in genetic diversity of the crop in this region.