Non-starch polysaccharides (NSPs) have many health benefits, including immunomodulatory activity, lowering serum cholesterol, a faecal bulking effect, enhanced absorption of certain minerals, prebiotic effects and the amelioration of type II diabetes. The principal components of the NSP in cereal grains are (1,3;1,4)-β-glucans and arabinoxylans. Although (1,3;1,4)-β-glucan (hereafter called β-glucan) is not the most representative component of wheat cell walls, it is one of the most important types of soluble fibre in terms of its proven beneficial effects on human health. In the present work we explored the genetic variability of β-glucan content in grains from a tetraploid wheat collection that had been genotyped with a 90k-iSelect array, and combined this data to carry out an association analysis. The β-glucan content, expressed as a percentage w/w of grain dry weight, ranged from 0.18% to 0.89% across the collection. Our analysis identified seven genomic regions associated with β-glucan, located on chromosomes 1A, 2A (two), 2B, 5B and 7A (two), confirming the quantitative nature of this trait. Analysis of marker trait associations (MTAs) in syntenic regions of several grass species revealed putative candidate genes that might influence β-glucan levels in the endosperm, possibly via their participation in carbon partitioning. These include the glycosyl hydrolases endo-β-(1,4)-glucanase (cellulase), β-amylase, (1,4)-β-xylan endohydrolase, xylanase inhibitor protein I, isoamylase and the glycosyl transferase starch synthase II.
- Genetic variation
- Genome-wide association study
- Plant proteins
- Journal article
- Research support, Non-U.S. Gov't