Genetic improvement of wheat early vigor promote weed-competitiveness under Mediterranean climate

Shlomi Aharon, Aviya Fadida-Myers, Kamal Nashef, Roi Ben-David, Ran N. Lati, Zvi Peleg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Chemical weed-control is the most effective practice for wheat, however, rapid evolution of herbicide-resistant weeds threat food-security and calls for integration of non-chemical practices. We hypothesis that integration of alternative GA-responsive dwarfing genes into elite wheat cultivars can promote early vigor and weed-competitiveness under Mediterranean climate. We develop near-isogenic lines of bread wheat cultivars with GAR dwarfing genes and evaluate them for early vigor and weed-competitiveness under various environmental and management conditions to identify promising NIL for weed-competitiveness and grain yield. While all seven NILs responded to external gibberellic acid application, they exhibited differences in early vigor. Greenhouse and field evaluations highlighted NIL OC1 (Rht8andRht12) as a promising line, with significant advantage in canopy early vigor over its parental. To facilitate accurate and continuous early vigor data collection, we applied non-destructive image-based phenotyping approaches which offers non-expensive and end-user friendly solution for selection. NIL OC1 was tested under different weed density level, infestation waves, and temperatures and highlight the complex genotypic × environmental × management interactions. Our findings demonstrate the potential of genetic modification of dwarfing genes as promising approach to improve weed-competitiveness, and serve as basis for future breeding efforts to support sustainable wheat production under semi-arid Mediterranean climate.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number110785
JournalPlant Science
StatePublished - Feb 2021


  • Bread wheat
  • Early vigor
  • G × E × M interactions
  • Image-based phenotyping
  • Integrated weed management
  • Rht dwarfing genes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Genetics
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Plant Science


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