The delayed leaf senescence (stay-green) has been frequently attributed to significant yield gains in different crops, especially under stress conditions. The goal of the study was to elucidate if the delayed leaf senescence of the wheat plant through the expression of the stay-green character brings effective contributions to adaptability and stability parameters for yield and weight of a thousand grains, aiming for genetic gains in the selection of more stable and productive genotypes. The experiment was conducted on the years 2003, 2004 and 2005 under field conditions. The experimental design was random blocks with three repetitions involving lines selected for high grain yield and distinct maturation groups (presence and absence of stay-green). The delayed leaf senescence in wheat had a strong contribution on the stability and increment in grain yield, especially in unfavorable years due to reduced precipitation. However, no changes were detected for the character weight of a thousand grains. Therefore, the introduction of the stay-green character into elite lines and cultivars represent a promising strategy for more stable and higher yielding wheat genotypes.
Key words: Triticum aestivum L., delayed senescence, grain yield, weight of thousand grains.
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