The Gpc-B1 gene from wild emmer has been proposed as a potential mechanism for improving grain protein in bread wheat without reducing grain yield. Near-isolines with and without the Gpc-B1 gene in three Australian-adapted genetic backgrounds, Gladius, Wyalkatchem and VR1128, were compared in 14 experiments across the south and west of Australia for grain yield, grain protein content and grain weight. The donor parents of Gpc-B1 were the Canadian cultivars Burnside and Somerset. One of the 14 experiments was discarded because of inadequate rust control and confounding effects of Yr36, a gene closely linked to Gpc-B1. Heading date and test weight were measured in five experiments.
Across all comparisons, Gpc-B1 increased grain protein content and reduced grain weight, with a negligible effect on grain yield. Selected lines containing Gpc-B1 in a Wyalkatchem background had comparable grain yields to the elite cultivar Mace, but with significantly higher grain protein contents, slightly higher grain weights, similar heading dates and acceptable test weights. The development of agronomically acceptable lines containing Gpc-B1 was partially attributed to the removal of undesirable genes from wild emmer during the breeding of the Canadian donor parents and the use of Australian recurrent parents with high test weights.