Kernel weight and shape-related traits are inherited stably and increase wheat yield. Narrow genetic diversity limits the progress of wheat breeding. Here, we evaluated kernel weight and shape-related traits and applied genome-wide association analysis to a panel of wheat multiple synthetic derivative (MSD) lines. The MSD lines harbored genomic fragments from Aegilops tauschii. These materials were grown under optimum conditions in Japan, as well as under heat and combined heat-drought conditions in Sudan. We aimed to explore useful QTLs for kernel weight and shape-related traits under stress conditions. These can be useful for enhancing yield under stress conditions. MSD lines possessed remarkable genetic variation for all traits under all conditions, and some lines showed better performance than the background parent Norin 61. We identified 82 marker trait associations (MTAs) under the three conditions; most of them originated from the D genome. All of the favorable alleles originated from Ae. tauschii. For the first time, we identified markers on chromosome 5D associated with a candidate gene encoding a RING-type E3 ubiquitin-protein ligase and expected to have a role in regulating wheat seed size. Our study provides important knowledge for the improvement of wheat yield under optimum and stress conditions. The results emphasize the importance of Ae. tauschii as a gene reservoir for wheat breeding.
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