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Open Access Research article

Generation of novel high quality HMW-GS genes in two introgression lines of Triticum aestivum/Agropyron elongatum

Shuwei Liu, Shuangyi Zhao, Fanguo Chen and Guangmin Xia*

Author Affiliations

School of Life Sciences, Shandong University, Jinan, 250100, PR China

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BMC Evolutionary Biology 2007, 7:76  doi:10.1186/1471-2148-7-76

Published: 15 May 2007



High molecular weight glutenin subunits (HMW-GS) have been proved to be mostly correlated with the processing quality of common wheat (Triticum aestivum). But wheat cultivars have limited number of high quality HMW-GS. However, novel HMW-GS were found to be present in many wheat asymmetric somatic hybrid introgression lines of common wheat/Agropyron elongatum.


To exploit how these new subunits were generated, we isolated HMW-GS genes from two sib hybrid lines (II-12 and 11-4-6) and compared them with those from their parents. The result shows that two genes of hybrid (H11-3-3 and H11-4-3) are directly introgressed from the donor parent Agropyron elongatum; one hybrid gene (H1Dx5) comes from point mutation of a parental wheat gene (1Dx2.1); two other hybrid genes (H1By8 and H1By16) are likely resulting from unequal crossover or slippage of a parental wheat gene (1By9.1); and the sixth novel hybrid gene (H1Dy12) may come from recombination between two parental genes.


Therefore, we demonstrate that novel HMW-GS genes can be rapidly created through asymmetric somatic hybridization in a manner similar with the evolution mechanism of these genes supposed before. We also described gene shuffling as a new mechanism of novel HMW-GS gene formation in hybrids. The results suggest that asymmetric somatic hybridization is an important approach for widening HMW-GS genebank of wheat quality improvement.