Fiziol. rast. genet. 2021, vol. 53, no. 3, 187-215, doi:

New scientific approaches in genetic amelioration of cereal crops

Morgun V.V.2, Rybalka O.I.1,2, Morgun B.V.3

  1. Plant Breeding and Genetics Institute—National Centre of Seed and Cultivars Investigation, National Academy of Agricultural Sciences of Ukraine 3 Ovidiopolska Road, Odesa, 65036, Ukraine
  2. Institute of Plant Physiology and Genetics, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine 31/17 Vasylkivska St., Kyiv, 03022, Ukraine
  3. Institute of Cell Biology and Genetic Engineering, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine 148 Academic Zabolotny St., Kyiv, 03680, Ukraine

Based on original genetic variability, in terms of its effects on grain protein, starch and bioactive grain compounds biosynthesis, several new approaches in breeding of winter wheat, winter wheat-spelt, winter/spring hull-less barley and winter triticale were initiated. The final purpose of our initiatives is to introduce on the Ukrainian grain market an array of new varieties of the cereal crops mentioned above with biochemical, technological and nutritional grain characteristics required for development of new food products with functional food status as well as new grain technology end-use. Available in our breeding programs genetic variability, specially developed or transferred to cultivated wheat genome from wild species (gout grass Aegilops tauschii (2n = 2x = 14), Ae. cylindrica (2n = 4x = 28), wild emmer Triticum dicoccoides (2n = 4x = 28) allows us to develop the new bread and biscuit wheat cultivars of the highest quality on red or white grain base. Newly introduced to our breeding programs the original genetic resources makes possible purposefully as well as in the large scale manipulate by wheat grain texture, nutritional and technological starch properties, grain hardness, technological and milling grain characteristics, that is entirely new for Ukrainian breeding, and that allows to enhance substantially the technological and nutritional wheat potential. We were first who initiated development in Ukraine new varieties of winter bread wheat and spelt-wheat, food end-use hull-less barley all possessing with colored (purple, black and blue) grain that allows substantially ameliorate nutritional and functional grain status as well as grain-derived food products of those crops. On the base of colored grain as well as on the wide grain hardness of wheat and food end-use hull-less barley grain we initiated the new for Ukrainian breeding developments – special end-use varieties for grouts and flakes. We also focus on the popularization in Ukraine of the whole-grain food derived from colored cereal grain as an important nutritional factor of health benefits. We initiated new breeding programs of the food end-use hull-less barley (winter, spring, alternative) varieties with elevated grain protein and soluble dietary fiber (beta-glucan), high amylose, low phytate, high anthocyanin and phytomelanin content, high grain antioxidant activity, unique nutrition black grained hull-less barley with ultra-low gluten content. Based on our own research as well as on the widely published foreign developments we make conclusion that the cereal functional food program should become as a state supported strategic program aimed on the health promotion of the Ukrainian nation.

Keywords: wheat, spelt, hull-less barley, triticale, grain quality, proteins, resistant starch, gene introgression, amylose, amylopectin, anthocyanins, antioxidants

Fiziol. rast. genet.
2021, vol. 53, no. 3, 187-215

Full text and supplemented materials

Free full text: PDF  


1. Hsu, P., Lander, E. & Zhang, F. (2014). Development and application of CRISPR-Cas9 for genome engineering. Cell, 157, Elsevier Inc., pp. 1262-1278.

2. Gorafi, Y., Kim, J.-S., Elbashir, A. & Tsujimoto, H. (2018). A population of wheat synthetic derivatives: an effective platform to explore, harness and utilize genetic diversity of Aegilops tauschii for wheat improvement. Theor. Appl. Genet., 131, pp. 1615-1625.

3. Cox, T., Wu, J., Wang, Sh., Cai, J., Zhang, Q. & Fu, B. (2017). Comparing two approaches for introgression of germplasm from Aegilops tauschii into common wheat.

4. Rybalka, O.I. (2011). Wheat quality and its improvement. Kyiv: Logos [in Ukrinian].

5. Rybalka, O.I., Morgun, V.V. & Pochinok, V.M. (2012). Genetic bases of wheat varieties by specialization of their technological use. Physiology and biochemistry of cult. plants, 44, No. 2, pp. 95-124 [in Ukrainian].

6. D'Ovidio, R., Masci, S., Porceddu, E. & Kasarda, D. (1997). Duplication of the Bx7 high-molecular-weight glutenin subunit gene in bread wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) cultivar Red River 68. Plant Breeding, 116, pp. 525-531.

7. Blechl, A. & Anderson, O. (1996). Expression of a novel high-molecular-weight glutenin subunit gene in transgenic wheat. Nature Biotechnol, 14, pp. 875-879.

8. Howell, T., Hale, I., Jankulosky, L., Bonafede, M., Gilbert, M. & Dubcowsky, J. (2014). Mapping a region within 1RS.1BL translocation in common wheat affecting grain yield and canopy water status. Theor. Appl. Genet., 127, pp. 2695-2709.

9. Johnson, V., Mattern, P., Peterson, C. & Kuhr, S. (1985). Improvement of wheat protein by traditional breeding and genetic techniques. Cereal Chemistry, 62, pp. 350-355.

10. McIntosh, R.A., Dubcovsky, J., Rogers, W.J., Rogers, W.J., Morris, C., Appels, R. & Xia, X.C. (2013). Catalogue of Gene Symbols for Wheat. 12th Int. Wheat Genet. Symp. 8-13 Sept. 2013, Yokohama, Japan.

11. Cakmak, I., Torun, A., Millet, E., Feldman, M., Fahima, T., Korol, A., Nevo, B., Braun, H. & Ozkan, H. (2004). T. dicoccoides: an important genetic resource for increasing zinc and iron concentration in modern cultivated wheat. Soil. Sci. Plant Nutr., 50, pp. 1047-1054.

12. Uauy, C., Brevis, J. & Dubcovsky, J. (2006). The high grain protein content gene Gpc-B1 accelerates senescence and has pleiotropic effects on protein content in wheat. J. Exp. Bot., 57, pp. 2785-2794.

13. Uauy, C., Distelfeld, A., Fahima,T., Blechl, A. & Dubcovsky, J. (2006). A NAC gene regulating senescence improves grain protein, zinc and iron content in wheat. Science, 314, pp. 1298-1301.

14. Distelfeld, A., Uauy, C., Fahima, T. & Dubcovsky, J. (2006). Physical map of the wheat high-grain protein content gene Gpc-B1 and development of a high-throughput molecular marker. New Phytol., 169, pp. 753-763.

15. Tabbita, F., Pearce, S. & Barneix, A. (2017). Breeding for increased grin protein and micronutrient content in wheat: Ten years of the GPC-B1 gene. J. Cereal Sci., 73, pp. 183-191.

16. Stepanenko, A.I., Morgun, B.V. & Rybalka, O.I. (2014). Molecular markers for detection in wheat QTL Gpc-B1, transferred from T. dicoccoides. Proceedings of the XIV Biotechnology in plant growing, animal husbandry and veterenary medicine (pp. 50-52), 16 Apr. 2014, Moscow, Russia [in Russian].

17. Rybalka, O.I., Morgun, B.V. & Polyshchuc, S.S. (2018). GPC-B1(NAM-B1) gene as a new genetic resource in wheat breeding for high grain protein content and micronutrients. Fiziol. rast. genet., 50, No. 4, pp. 279-299 [in Ukrainian].

18. Morgun, B.V., Stepanenko, O.V., Stepanenko, A.I. & Rybalka, O.I. (2015). Molecular-genetic identification of Wx genes polymorphism in wheat hybrids by multiplex polymerase chain reactions. Fiziol. rast. genet., 47, No. 1, pp. 25-35 [in Ukrainian].

19. Rybalka, O.I., Morgun, V.V., Morgun, B.V. & Pochynoc, V.M. (2015). Agronomic potential and perspectives of triticale. Fiziol. rast. genet., 47, No. 2, pp. 95-112 [in Ukrainian].

20. Hercberg, S., Chat-Yung, S. & Chauliac, M. (2008). The French National Nutrition and Health Program: 2001-2006-2010. Int. J. Public Health, 53, pp. 68-77.

21. Sherman, J., Souza, E., See, D. & Talbert, L. (2008). Microsatellite markers for kernel color genes in wheat. Crop Science, 48, pp. 1419-1424.

22. Guo, Z., Xu, P., Zhang, Z. & Guo, Y. (2012). Segregation ratios of colored grains in F1 hybrid wheat. Crop Breeding and Applied Biotechnology, 12, pp.126-131.

23. Andersen, Sh. & Jordheim, M. (2006). The anthocyanins. In Flavonoids: Chemistry, Biochemistry and Applications. Sh., Andersen, K.R., Markham (Eds.) (pp. 471-552). Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.

24. Jacobs, D. & Steffen, L. (2003). Nutrients, foods, and dietary patterns as exposures in research: A framework for food synergy. Amer. J. Clin. Nutr., 78, pp. 508-513.

25. Li, W., Shan, F., Sun, Sh., Corke, H. & Beta, T. (2005). Free radical scavenging properties and phenolic content of Chinese black-grained wheat. J. Agric. Food Chem., 53(22), pp. 8533-8536.

26. Zeven, A.C. (1991). Wheats with purple and bluegrains - a review. Euphytica, 56, pp. 243-258.

27. Nandy, S., Chen, Q., Cheng Sun, Sh., Ahmad, F., Graf, R. & Kereliuk, G. (2008). Nutritional analyses and their inheritance properties in colored wheat seed lines from different origins using near-infrared spectroscopy. Amer. J. Plant Sci. Biotech., 2(2), pp. 74-79.

28. Martinek, P., Scorpic, M., Chrpova, J., Fucik, P. & Schweiger, J. (2013). Development of the new wheat variety Skorpion with blue grain. Czech. J. Genet. Plant Breed., 49(20), pp. 90-94.

29. Rybalka, O.I., Morgun, V.V., Morgun, B.V. & Pochinok, V.M. (2015). Agronomic potential and perspectives of triticale. Fiziol. rast. genet., 47, No. 2, pp. 95-111 [in Ukrainian].

30. Newman, C. & Newman, R. (2005). Hulless barley for food and feed. In: Specialty grains for food and feed. E. Abdel-Aal, P. Wood eds. Amer. Association of Cereal Chemists. St. Paul, MN, pp. 167-202.

31. Morell, M., Kosar-Hashemi, B., Cmiel, M., Samuel, M., Chandler, P., Rahman, S., Buleon, A., Batey, I. & Li, Z. (2003). Barley sex6 mutants lack starch synthase IIa activity and contain a starch with novel properties. Plant J., 34, pp. 173-185.

32. Topping, D., Morell, M., King, R., Li, Z., Bird, A. & Noakes, M. (2003). Resistant starch and health - Himalaya 292, a novel barley cultivar to deliver benefits to consumers. Starch, 55, pp. 539-545.

33. Rybalka, O.I., Morgun, V.V. & Morgun, B.V. (2020). Colored grain of wheat and barley - a new breeding strategy of crops with grain of high nutritional values. Fiziol. rast. genet., 52, No. 2, pp. 95-128 [in Ukrainian].

34. Rybalka, O.I. Morgun, B.V. & Polyshchuk, S.S. (2011). Barley as a product of functional nutrition. Kyiv: Logos [in Ukrinian].

35. Fasano, A., Berti, I., Gerarduzzi, T., Not, T., Colletti, R., Drago, S. & Elitsur, Y. (2003). Prevalence of celiac disease in at-risk and not-at-risk groups in the United States - a large multicenter study. Arch. Intern. Med., 163, pp. 286-292.

36. Sanchez-Leon., R., Gil-Humanes, J., Ozuna, C., Gimenez, M., Sousa, C., Voytas, D. & Barro, F. (2018). Low-gluten, nontransgenic wheat engineered with CRISPR/Cas9. Plant Biotechnol. J., 16, pp. 902-910.

37. Tanner, G., Blundell, M., Colgrave, M. & Howitt, C. (2016). Creation of the first ultra-low gluten barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) for coeliac and gluten-intolerant populations Plant Biotechnol. J., 14, pp. 1139-1150.

38. Brennan, C., Smith, D., Harris, N. & Shewry, P. (1998). The production and characterization of Hor3 null lines of barley provides new information on the relationship of D hordein to malting performance. J. Cer. Sci., 28, pp. 291-299.

39. Rybalka, O.I., Katrii, V.B., Morgun, B.V. & Poiyshshuk, S.S. (2020). Barley locus sex 6 mutation that substantionally improves nutritional grain values. Fiziol. rast. genet., 52, No. 3, pp. 238-247 [in Ukrainian].