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Increasing attention is paid to providing new tools to breeders for targeted breeding for specific root traits that are beneficial in low-fertility, drying soils; however, such information is not available for barley (Hordeum vulgare L.). A panel of 191 barley accessions (originating from Australia, Europe, and Africa) was phenotyped for 26 root and shoot traits using the semi-hydroponic system and genotyped using 21 062 high-quality single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers generated by genotyping-by-sequencing (GBS). The population structure analysis of the barley panel identified six distinct groups. We detected 1199 significant (P<0.001) marker-trait associations (MTAs) with r2 values up to 0.41. The strongest MTAs were found for root diameter in the top 20 cm and the longest root length. Based on the physical locations of these MTAs in the barley reference genome, we identified 37 putative QTLs for the root traits, and three QTLs for shoot traits, with nine QTLs located in the same physical regions. The genomic region 640-653 Mb on chromosome 7H was significant for five root length-related traits, where 440 annotated genes were located. The putative QTLs for various root traits identified in this study may be useful for genetic improvement regarding the adaptation of new barley cultivars to suboptimal environments and abiotic stresses.
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