Plants produce numerous metabolites that are important for their development and growth. However, the genetic architecture of the wheat metabolome has not been well studied. Here, utilizing a high‐density genetic map, we conducted a comprehensive metabolome study via widely targeted LC‐MS/MS to analyze the wheat kernel metabolism. We further combined agronomic traits and dissected the genetic relationship between metabolites and agronomic traits. In total, 1260 metabolic features were detected. Using linkage analysis, 1005 metabolic quantitative trait loci (mQTLs) were found distributed unevenly across the genome. Twenty‐four candidate genes were found to modulate the levels of different metabolites, of which two were functionally annotated by in vitro analysis to be involved in the synthesis and modification of flavonoids. Combining the correlation analysis of metabolite‐agronomic traits with the co‐localization of methylation quantitative trait locus (mQTL) and phenotypic QTL (pQTL), genetic relationships between the metabolites and agronomic traits were uncovered. For example, a candidate was identified using correlation and co‐localization analysis that may manage auxin accumulation, thereby affecting number of grains per spike (NGPS). Furthermore, metabolomics data were used to predict the performance of wheat agronomic traits, with metabolites being found that provide strong predictive power for NGPS and plant height. This study used metabolomics and association analysis to better understand the genetic basis of the wheat metabolism which will ultimately assist in wheat breeding.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.