Increased ABA sensitivity results in higher seed dormancy in soft white spring wheat cultivar 'Zak'

Elizabeth C. Schramm, Sven K. Nelson, Kimberlee K. Kidwell, Camille M. Steber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


As a strategy to increase the seed dormancy of soft white wheat, mutants with increased sensitivity to the plant hormone abscisic acid (ABA) were identified in mutagenized grain of soft white spring wheat "Zak". Lack of seed dormancy is correlated with increased susceptibility to preharvest sprouting in wheat, especially those cultivars with white kernels. ABA induces seed dormancy during embryo maturation and inhibits the germination of mature grain. Three mutant lines called Zak ERA8, Zak ERA19A, and Zak ERA19B (Zak ENHANCED RESPONSE to ABA) were recovered based on failure to germinate on 5 μM ABA. All three mutants resulted in increased ABA sensitivity over a wide range of concentrations such that a phenotype can be detected at very low ABA concentrations. Wheat loses sensitivity to ABA inhibition of germination with extended periods of dry after-ripening. All three mutants recovered required more time to after-ripen sufficiently to germinate in the absence of ABA and to lose sensitivity to 5 μM ABA. However, an increase in ABA sensitivity could be detected after as long as 3 years of after-ripening using high ABA concentrations. The Zak ERA8 line showed the strongest phenotype and segregated as a single semi-dominant mutation. This mutation resulted in no obvious decrease in yield and is a good candidate gene for breeding preharvest sprouting tolerance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)791-803
Number of pages13
JournalTheoretical and Applied Genetics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Genetics


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