Grain dietary fiber content in wheat not only affects its end use and technological properties including milling, baking and animal feed but is also of great importance for health benefits. In this study, integration of association genetics (seven detected loci on chromosomes 1B, 3A, 3D, 5B, 6B, 7A, 7B) and meta-QTL (three consensus QTL on chromosomes 1B, 3D and 6B) analyses allowed the identification of seven chromosomal regions underlying grain dietary fiber content in bread wheat. Based either on a diversity panel or on bi-parental populations, we clearly demonstrate that this trait is mainly driven by a major locus located on chromosome 1B associated with a log of p value >13 and a LOD score >8, respectively. In parallel, we identified 73 genes differentially expressed during the grain development and between genotypes with contrasting grain fiber contents. Integration of quantitative genetics and transcriptomic data allowed us to propose a short list of candidate genes that are conserved in the rice, sorghum and Brachypodium chromosome regions orthologous to the seven wheat grain fiber content QTL and that can be considered as major candidate genes for future improvement of the grain dietary fiber content in bread wheat breeding programs.
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