Founder parents have contributed significantly to the improvement of wheat. Beijing 8 has been used as a founder parent in developing many outstanding improved cultivars in China. The widely grown cultivars Beijing 8 and 6 additional derivatives both derived from the cross ‘Bima 4 × Early Premium’ in China, were characterised using seven morphological traits and 537 microsatellite markers. Phenotypic comparisons revealed that Beijing 8 was similar for certain characteristics to the widely grown cultivars Shijiazhuang 54 and Jinan 2, hinting that acceptable performance for yield components may be the basis for Beijing 8 serving as a founder parent. Simple sequence repeat analysis indicated that Bima 4 contributed more genome information to the derivatives than Early Premium. Fifty-nine unique simple sequence repeat alleles, present in Beijing 8 and absent in other cultivars, were observed. Nearly all loci were in close proximity to the positions of known genes conferring important traits. Furthermore, pedigree tracking found that the frequencies of alleles unique to Beijing 8 varied from 0 to 0.96 in its 51 descendants, suggesting that some of them underwent rigorous selection during breeding.
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