Heat tolerance in spring wheat. I. Estimating cellular thermotolerance and its heritability

M. Fokar, Henry T. Nguyen, A. Blum

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High temperature is a major environmental stress factor limiting wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) productivity. Improvement of heat tolerance in wheat is an important breeding objective. Genetic variation in cellular thermotolerance among 56 spring wheat cultivars was evaluated at the seedling stage of growth by cell membrane thermostability (CMS) and triphenyl tetrazolium chloride (TTC) assays. A subset of eight lines was also evaluated at the flowering stage using the same assays. With both assays average thermotolerance tended to decrease from the seedling to the flowering stages. However, thermotolerance was well correlated between growth stages among the eight cultivars for both CMS (r = 0.92; p = 0.004) and TTC (r = 0.84; p = 0.050). The correlation between TTC and CMS among the eight cultivars tested at the seedling and the flowering growth stages was significant (r = 0.74; p = 0.031 and r = 0.75; p = 0.029, respectively). The same correlation was less strong, though still significant (r = 0.32; p = 0.014) across 56 cultivars at the seedling stage. In a study of the cross V747 (tolerant)/Barkaee (susceptible), broad sense heritability was estimated at 89% for TTC. Most of the genetic variance was additive. CMS in seedlings of 16 cultivars was positively and significantly (p ≤ 0.05) correlated with yields of these cultivars in each of four hot environments in Mexico, Sudan, India, and Brazil. The same correlations for TTC were positive but nonsignificant.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1998


  • Heat stress
  • Heat tolerance
  • Spring wheat


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