Agronomy and Horticulture Department


Date of this Version



Mohamed, E.A.; Ahmed, A.A.M.; Schierenbeck, M.; Hussein, M.Y.; Baenziger, P.S.; Börner, A.; Sallam, A. Screening Spring Wheat Genotypes for TaDreb-B1 and Fehw3 Genes under Severe Drought Stress at the Germination Stage Using KASP Technology. Genes 2023, 14, 373. genes14020373


Open access.


Drought stress is a major yield-limiting factor throughout the world in wheat (Triticum aestivum L.), causing losses of up to 80% of the total yield. The identification of factors affecting drought stress tolerance in the seedling stage is especially important to increase adaptation and accelerate the grain yield potential. In the current study, 41 spring wheat genotypes were tested for their tolerance to drought at the germination stage under two different polyethylene glycol concentrations (PEG) of 25% and 30%. For this purpose, twenty seedlings from each genotype were evaluated in triplicate with a randomized complete block design (RCBD) in a controlled growth chamber. The following nine parameters were recorded: germination pace (GP), germination percentage (G%), number of roots (NR), shoot length (SL), root length (RL), shoot–root length ratio (SRR), fresh biomass weight (FBW), dry biomass weight (DBW), and water content (WC). An analysis of variance (ANOVA) revealed highly significant differences (p < 0.01) among the genotypes, treatments (PEG25%, PEG30%) and genotypes × treatment interaction, for all traits. The broad-sense heritability (H2) estimates were very high in both concentrations. They ranged from 89.4 to 98.9% under PEG25% and from 70.8 to 98.7% under PEG30%. Citr15314 (Afghanistan) was among the best performing genotypes under both concentrations for most of the germination traits. Two KASP markers for TaDreb-B1 and Fehw3 genes were used to screen all genotypes and to study the effect of these on drought tolerance at the germination stage. All genotypes with Fehw3 (only) showed a better performance for most traits under both concentrations compared to other genotypes having TaDreb-B1 or having both genes. To our knowledge, this work is the first report showing the effect of the two genes on germination traits under severe drought stress conditions.