Modern plant-breeding practices have narrowed the genetic base of wheat, such that there is a need to introduce new germplasms with underexploited diversity into breeding programs. Wheat landraces are a very valuable resource when searching for genetic variation, which not only possess increased adaptability, but also quality-related traits. Several studies have shown a wide genetic diversity in Spanish wheat landraces compared to other germplasm collections; therefore, the main objective of this study is to analyze the variability in a collection of 189 landraces from the Spanish National Plant Genetic Resources Centre (Centro de Recursos Fitogenéticos, CRF-INIA, Alcalá de Henares), in relation to end-use quality traits. We characterized the whole collection for high-molecular-weight glutenin and puroindoline allelic composition, and for gluten strength. In addition, grain protein content, grains per spike, and thousand kernel weight were evaluated in samples from four-year field trials. The relationship between glutenin composition and quality was evaluated, and some alleles strongly associated with high quality were identified in the collection, some of them specific for Iberian landraces. The results also show the presence of novel variability within high-molecular-weight glutenin and puroindolines, which needs to be characterized further in order to assess its influence on wheat quality. In addition, a set of landraces showing outstanding values for gluten quality and a good agronomic performance was selected for testing in field trials in order to evaluate the suitability of their direct use in cropping systems.
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