This project is aimed at obtaining genetic markers helpful in breeding programs for the identification of durum wheat lines characterized by low Cd accumulation in grains. Moreover, analysis of differences in expression of genes involved in Cd uptake and transport will be performed with the purpose of clarifying the molecular mechanisms involved in Cd grain accumulation. The effect of Zn fertilization on Cd concentration in grain will also be studied.
The work is structured in different phases that will proceed together:
- growth of all 64 durum wheat lines (plus tester lines for low/high Cd accumulation) in field and in Cd containing matrix/hydroponic cultures;
- phenotypic analysis of each line according to Cd content in leaves, spike (during grain filling) and dried grains;
- identification of genetic markers tightly linked to the low Cd content trait;
- phenotype/genotype correlation;
- expression analysis of important genes involved in Cd accumulation in order to correlate low Cd content phenotype to a particular expression pattern of tested genes;
- validation of the linkage between gene expression patterns and low Cd content;
- analysis of the effect of Zn fertilization on Cd accumulation in durum wheat plants.