An international team of scientists has for the first time studied the
genetics that underlie grain zinc concentrations in wheat. Analyzing zinc
concentrations in the grain of 330 bread wheat lines across diverse
environments in India and Mexico, the research team uncovered 39 new
molecular markers associated with the trait, as well as two wheat genome
segments that carry important genes for zinc uptake, translocation, and
storage in wheat.
More than 17 percent of the world's population, largely across Africa and
Asia, lack zinc in their diets, a factor responsible for the deaths of more
than 400,000 children each year. Velu Govindan, wheat breeder at the
International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) and first author
of the new report said that the collaboration among research centers in
India, australia, the USA, and Mexoco will expedite breeding for higher zinc
through use of 'hotspot' genome regions and molecular markers.