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Aharon, S. - The Robert H. Smith Institute of Plant Sciences and Genetics in Agriculture, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Rehovot, 7610001, Israel; Department of Plant Pathology and Weed Research, Agricultural Research Organization (ARO)-Newe Ya'ar Research Center, Ramat Yishay, 30095, Israel.
Fadida-Myers, A. - The Robert H. Smith Institute of Plant Sciences and Genetics in Agriculture, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Rehovot, 7610001, Israel; Institute of Plant Sciences, Agricultural Research Organization (ARO)-Volcani Center, Rishon LeZion, 7528809, Israel.
Nashef, K. - Institute of Plant Sciences, Agricultural Research Organization (ARO)-Volcani Center, Rishon LeZion, 7528809, Israel

Ben-David, R. - Institute of Plant Sciences, Agricultural Research Organization (ARO)-Volcani Center, Rishon LeZion, 7528809, Israel

Lati, R.N. - Department of Plant Pathology and Weed Research, Agricultural Research Organization (ARO)-Newe Ya'ar Research Center, Ramat Yishay, 30095, Israel

Peleg, Z. - The Robert H. Smith Institute of Plant Sciences and Genetics in Agriculture, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Rehovot, 7610001, Israel

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.

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Genetic improvement of wheat early vigor promote weed-competitiveness under Mediterranean climate
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Aharon, S. - The Robert H. Smith Institute of Plant Sciences and Genetics in Agriculture, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Rehovot, 7610001, Israel; Department of Plant Pathology and Weed Research, Agricultural Research Organization (ARO)-Newe Ya'ar Research Center, Ramat Yishay, 30095, Israel.
Fadida-Myers, A. - The Robert H. Smith Institute of Plant Sciences and Genetics in Agriculture, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Rehovot, 7610001, Israel; Institute of Plant Sciences, Agricultural Research Organization (ARO)-Volcani Center, Rishon LeZion, 7528809, Israel.
Nashef, K. - Institute of Plant Sciences, Agricultural Research Organization (ARO)-Volcani Center, Rishon LeZion, 7528809, Israel

Ben-David, R. - Institute of Plant Sciences, Agricultural Research Organization (ARO)-Volcani Center, Rishon LeZion, 7528809, Israel

Lati, R.N. - Department of Plant Pathology and Weed Research, Agricultural Research Organization (ARO)-Newe Ya'ar Research Center, Ramat Yishay, 30095, Israel

Peleg, Z. - The Robert H. Smith Institute of Plant Sciences and Genetics in Agriculture, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Rehovot, 7610001, Israel

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

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.

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