CREA - Research Centre for Cereal and Industrial Crops
Dr. Anna Maria Mastrangelo, senior scientist at the CREA-Research Center for Cereal and Industrial Crops of Foggia (Italy). Degree in Biological Sciences, University of Bari in 1997, magna cum laude. Three-years post-degree school of Applied Genetics, University of Milano in 2002, magna cum laude. PhD in Applied Chemistry and Biochemistry in 2007, University of Molise, Italy. Member of the directive committee of the Italian Society of Agricultural Genetics from 2013 to 2015, and co-chair (from January 2023) of the Expert Working Group On Durum Wheat Genomics and Breeding in the frame of the Wheat Initiative. She works on durum wheat for the development of segregating populations, association mapping panels, and genotyping to study the genetic bases of traits of agronomic interest in durum wheat. This activity led to the identification of durum wheat lines carrying useful alleles for grain quality-related traits and resistance to multiple diseases (with molecular markers currently used in breeding programs), and to the development of genetic materials to clone the best promising genes. Finally, she has contributed with her knowledge on genes and QTLs to the annotation of the durum wheat (cv. Svevo) genome. She is author, comprehensively, of 114 publications, and 66 are on international journals with IF (H-index 32).
Improvement of end-use quality is an important objective in wheat breeding programs, but it is made difficult by its complexity, as based on multiple traits which are controlled by many loci at genetic level. Analysis of phenotypic historical data show what traits have been targeted by breeding in the last decades, and what perspectives can be considered for future improvement of wheat grain quality.
Genetic materials, as recombinant inbred lines, introgression lines, and diverse collections are a primary resource to dissect genetic diversity and meet pre-breeding and breeding goals through the identification of useful alleles for traits of agronomic importance. Different recombinant populations have been developed at CREA for studying the genetic bases of many traits, including grain quality. Moreover, a Global Durum wheat Panel of 1,011 genotypes was assembled by an international consortium in the frame of the activities of the Expert Working Group on Durum Wheat Genomics as part of the Wheat Initiative. It consists of a wide representation of Triticum turgidum ssp. durum modern germplasm and landraces, along with a selection of emmer and primitive tetraploid wheats to maximize diversity.
During last years, genomics and other omic approaches have provided a considerable contribution to the identification of markers, transcripts, peptides, and metabolites associated with grain quality. Consensus and physical maps, as well as whole genome sequences, are now available also for tetraploid wheats, as in the case of the recently released genome of the durum wheat cultivar ‘Svevo’, allowing for a better exploitation of the genetic diversity of the tetraploid gene pool. The projection of sequence-based markers as the single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) to the ‘Svevo’ genome allowed to map genes and QTLs with higher precision and resolution. Moreover, it is possible to better refine QTL regions through metaQTL analysis to search for candidate genes directly in the tetraploid genome. The identification of quantitative trait loci with a major effect, and the cloning of the underlying genes is expected to move the selection toward a “breeding by design” approach that will accumulate an increasing number of known useful alleles into elite genotypes. Efficient integration of all the genomic tools and approaches in breeding programs will ultimately improve durum wheat for sustaining yield and quality also in the frame of the ongoing climate changes.