Plants have evolved different strategies to uptake, translocate, and accumulate essential minerals. Genetic biofortification of staple crops has been ignored by breeders for decades in compensation of yield enhancements. Therefore, malnutrition and hidden hunger persist in developing countries. Genetic biofortification studies can benefit from the wide variation in natural wild relatives or populations of crop species. Ionomic studies have been performed in different crops as well as in Arabidopsis thaliana to determine the mineral composition of different organs in natural populations or recombinant inbred lines. Recently, quantitative trait loci (QTL) analyses and genome-wide association studies (GWAS) started to identify the molecular signatures that potentially cause the ionomic changes in natural crop populations. This chapter describes the studies in various crop species to determine the genetic variability in mineral contents and gives examples from recent advances in the identification of genetic factors controlling the variation via GWAS.
Wild Germplasm for Genetic Improvement in Crop Plants, 2021, Pages 115-138,