In Japan, the cultivation of new wheat varieties for use in bread and in Chinese and other noodles is an important and urgent objective for increasing the domestic wheat production and the food self-sufficiency ratio. Many molecular markers are currently available; those used in wheat breeding programs in Japan are generally employed to assess the amylose content, dough strength, grain hardness, wheat yellow mosaic virus, and preharvest sprouting. Molecular markers for flour color and grain yield will be developed in the next few years.
Glutenin subunit composition, amylose content, and grain hardness are critical determinants for the end-use properties of wheat. Glutenin composition determines gluten strength, which is important for bread-making. Lower amylose content increases springiness, which is important in white salted noodle production. Grain hardness affects the damaged starch content in flour ; a high damaged starch content increases water absorption and facilitates dough fermentation. These qualtiy attributes are genetically determined. Here, I review these genetic traits based on their allelic variation in imported wheat classes and domestic wheat cultivars. It is thus potentially possible to optimize the allelic compositions of these traits in order to improve the end-use properties of domestic wheat cultivars.