Associations of NAM-A1 alleles with the onset of senescence and nitrogen use efficiency under Western Australian conditions
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© 2018, Springer Nature B.V. Wheat grain yield and protein content are significantly influenced by the onset of senescence and the duration of the grain filling phase. The onset of senescence also affects Nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) through interacting pathways involving N accumulation and translocation of N into the grains. The objective of this study was to relate variation in NUE and its components with two groups of the NAM-A1 gene alleles; (i) early onset of senescence in cultivars carrying the NAM-A1a allele, (ii) delayed onset of senescence in cultivars carrying the Non-NAM-A1a allele (b, c, d) in wheat cultivars grown under Western Australia conditions. A field trial was carried out over two seasons examining 19 cultivars under different N rates and time of N application. The Normalized Difference Vegetation Index was utilized to determine the onset of senescence after anthesis. The early onset of senescence results in high grain yield, harvest index, and NUE due to improvements in the N utilization ability. Accelerating the onset of senescence results in a short grain filling period leading to grain maturity before the onset of unfavourable summer conditions. The function of alleles of NAM-A1 gene in controlling senescence hence the NUE is highly regulated by environmental conditions. This study concluded that the function of NAM-A1a allele induces the onset of senescence with a positive effect on the NUE and its components under Western Australian conditions.
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