Wheat is a staple food crop for about a third of the world’s population. However, the crop’s growth and development are significantly affected by climate change, particularly by extreme temperatures and less rainfall. A recent study has explored the use of stress tolerance indices to identify heat-tolerant wheat genotypes.
The researchers evaluated 50 wheat genotypes under normal and late-sown conditions. The late sown conditions exposed the crops to higher temperatures during anthesis and grain filling stages, simulating heat stress. The researchers used eleven stress indices, including stress tolerance index (STI), mean relative performance (MRP), harmonic mean (HM), geometric mean (GMP), mean productivity (MP), yield index (YI), yield stability index (YSI), percent yield reduction (PYR), relative stress index (RSI), tolerance index (TOL), and stress susceptibility percentage index (SSPI), to identify and select heat-tolerant genotypes.
The study found that high-temperature stress significantly reduced the yield of wheat. However, based on evaluating stress indices, specific genotypes showed better tolerance to heat stress. The researchers used correlation coefficient principal component, biplot, and cluster analysis to validate the selection of heat-tolerant genotypes further.
The findings of this study could provide a theoretical basis for the development of heat-tolerant wheat varieties. This is particularly important in the face of climate change, which is expected to increase extreme temperature stress conditions during the crop cycle. By developing heat-tolerant wheat varieties, wheat production, and productivity can be increased to meet the food requirements of the growing global population.