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  • Author or Editor: G. Galiba x
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The location of major QTLs or even genes controlling abiotic stress tolerance is now possible by the application of marker-mediated techniques. This is achieved by exploiting precise genetic stocks, such as doubled haploids (DHs), recombinant substitution lines (RSLs) and recombinant inbred lines (RILs), along with the comprehensive genetic maps now available through the application of molecular marker techniques. These strategies are illustrated here showing how QTLs/genes affecting vernalization response, cold tolerance, osmotic adjustment, osmolite accumulation (free amino acids, polyamines and carbohydrates), salt tolerance and cold-regulated protein accumulation have been identified and located. Also, an example of marker-assisted selection (MAS) for frost tolerance is presented. Major loci and QTLs affecting stress tolerance in Triticeae have been mapped on the group 5 chromosomes, where the highest concentration of abiotic stress-related QTLs (vernalization response, frost tolerance, salt tolerance and osmolite accumulation) was located. A conserved region with a major role in osmotic adjustment has been located on the group 7 chromosomes.

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Authors: A. Vágújfalvi, V. Nagy, A. Soltész and G. Galiba

Testing cereal frost tolerance goes back for decades in the Agricultural Research Institute, Martonvásár, Hungary. The climatic programmes used in the plant growth chamber have proved to be fairly efficient, but these methods are time-consuming and have become quite expensive in recent years. An attempt was made to shorten this process by reducing the cold hardening phase, and the freezing test has been simplified and shortened by measuring the relative conductance of leaf segments frozen in a liquid freezer. Frost-tolerant and sensitive wheat lines were tested, and the sensitivity of the system was checked by testing single chromosome substitution lines. Differences were found for all lines frozen at different temperatures. To reduce the costs of the experiment it was attempted to cold-harden the plants not only in a growth chamber but also in a cold room under very low light intensity and it was found that even under thess unfavourable conditions the plants developed a certain level of frost tolerance. The simplified frost tolerance test has proved to be effective, but requires further improvement due to the unsatisfactory significance levels.

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The mobilization of carbohydrates, especially sucrose, is considered very important during both the cold acclimation process and water stress, while sugars also promote floral transition and cold hardiness. Chinese Spring (CS) 5AL and 5DL deletion lines were studied for the physical assignment of the gene(s) regulating stress-induced sugar accumulation. To separate the effect of cold from that of water deprivation, the seedlings were raised in hydroponics, and apart from the cold, the effect of PEG-induced water stress was also evaluated in a time course experiment. The genes affecting stress-induced carbohydrate accumulation were assigned to the same chromosomal bins, which contain the vernalization genes Vrn-A1and Vrn-D1, on the long arms of chromosomes 5A and 5D, respectively. Sugar accumulation was found to be controlled by Vrngenes in an epistatic manner at least at the beginning of the cold treatment. In the case of cold treatment, Vrn-A1proved to be more effective than Vrn-D1, while in the case of osmotic stress the gene assigned to the long arm of chromosome 5D seemed to be more effective at regulating sugar accumulation than its counterpart on 5A.

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Freezing tolerance is a quantitative trait, determined by many genes and also influenced by environmental factors. Thus, the development of reliable testing methods is a prerequisite both for the identification of quantitative trait loci (QTLs) and for the identification of the genes behind the QTLs. Transformation methods proved to be effective in the direct verification of isolated genes involved in low temperature stress responses. In order to develop freezing tolerance, winter cereals must be adapted through a cold hardening period, which not only influences cold adaptation but also initiates the vernalization process necessary for flowering. Recent and ongoing studies are endeavouring to uncover the relationship between freezing tolerance and vernalization response at the genetic and molecular levels. This review aims to explain cereal freezing tolerance on the basis of recent discoveries in the areas outlined above.

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Authors: A. F. Bálint, G. Kovács, A. Börner, G. Galiba and J. Sutka

The relatively copper-tolerant wheat variety Chinese Spring (recipient), the copper-sensitive variety Cappelle Desprez (donor) and their substitution lines were screened for copper tolerance in a soil pot experiment under artificial growth conditions. Chromosomes 5A, 5B, 5D and 7D of Cappelle Desprez significantly decreased the copper tolerance of the recipient variety to varying extents.  By contrast, the 6B and 3D chromosomes significantly increased the copper tolerance of Chinese Spring, suggesting that a wide range of allelic differences could be expected between wheat genotypes for this character. The significant role of homologous group 5 in copper tolerance was confirmed by testing wheat-rye substitution lines. The substitution of rye chromosome 5R (5R/5A substitution line) into a wheat genetic background significantly increased the copper tolerance of the recipient wheat genotype. The results suggest that chromosomes 5R and 5A probably carry major genes or gene complexes responsible for copper tolerance, and that the copper tolerance of wheat can be improved through the substitution of a single chromosome carrying the responsible genes. At the same time, it is also possible that the effect of homologous group 5 is not specific to copper tolerance, but that the genes located on these chromosomes belong to a general stress adaptation (frost, cold, vernalisation requirements, etc.) complex, which has already been detected on this chromosome. To answer this question further studies are needed to determine the real effect of these chromosome regions and loci on copper tolerance.

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Wheat-based food has great importance in human nutrition: in European countries they provide 20–30% of the daily calorie intake, and additionally, the wholemeal and healthy food becomes even more popular. Mineral content in grains is dependent on genetic and environmental factors (varieties, soil type, geographical location of the growing area, etc.), therefore, it is complicated to estimate how many percentage of the daily micronutrient requirements can be covered by wheat-based products. In this study, copper (Cu), iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), molybdenum (Mo), selenium (Se) and zinc (Zn) contents of 13 commercial wheat flour products, and the white flour and wholemeal of 24 winter type bread wheat varieties were studied to estimate the nutritional value of these products. All investigated samples were produced in Hungary. Significant variation was revealed in the case of all mineral elements in the different brands of wheat flours. Generally, the white flour enriched with germ showed higher mineral contents than the average values of normal white flours. Furthermore, the wholemeal has higher Cu, Fe, Mn and Zn, but not higher Se contents than the white flours. Mo content was also higher in some brands of white flour than in wholemeal.The investigated winter wheat varieties showed significant differences in the case of Fe, Mn, Se and Zn contents, but none of the varieties showed outstandingly high micronutrient content. The milling process — as it was expected — reduces the concentrations of four elements (Fe 33%; Mn 88%; Zn 71%; Cu 44%); however, the Se and Mo concentrations were not affected significantly. Using the average micronutrient content in the wholemeal of varieties, the daily Mn and Fe requirement can be covered by the consumption of about 250 g wholemeal. Additionally, the daily Mo requirement could be met by the daily consumption of 140–190 g of commercial white or wholemeal flour.

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Authors: L. Sági, M. Rakszegi, T. Spitkó, K. Mészáros, B. Németh-Kisgyörgy, A. Soltész, F. Szira, H. Ambrus, A. Mészáros, G. Galiba, A. Vágújfalvi, B. Barnabás and L. Marton

Research with transgenic plants in the Agricultural Research Institute of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences is primarily related to applications that are essential for the genetic improvement of cereals. The two main directions are connected to wheat and maize breeding and are focused on improving agronomic and nutritional traits. This paper highlights experiments in these areas, which are conducted in national as well as international collaborations. The transparency of this work is ensured by the dissemination of information about approved confined field tests to the public via the internet.

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