Genome-wide association of yield traits in a nested association mapping population of barley reveals new gene diversity for future breeding.
ABSTRACT: To explore wild barley as a source of useful alleles for yield improvement in breeding, we have carried out a genome-wide association scan using the nested association mapping population HEB-25, which contains 25 diverse exotic barley genomes superimposed on an ~70% genetic background of cultivated barley. A total of 1420 HEB-25 lines were trialled for nine yield-related grain traits for 2 years in Germany and Scotland, with varying N fertilizer application. The phenotypic data were related to genotype scores for 5398 gene-based single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers. A total of 96 quantitative trait locus (QTL) regions were identified across all measured traits, the majority of which co-localize with known major genes controlling flowering time (Ppd-H2, HvCEN, HvGI, VRN-H1, and VRN-H3) and spike morphology (VRS3, VRS1, VRS4, and INT-C) in barley. Fourteen QTL hotspots, with at least three traits coinciding, were also identified, several of which co-localize with barley orthologues of genes controlling grain dimensions in rice. Most of the allele effects are specific to geographical location and/or exotic parental genotype. This study shows the existence of beneficial alleles for yield-related traits in exotic barley germplasm and provides candidate alleles for future improvement of these traits by the breeder.
Project description:Flowering time is a key agronomic trait that plays an important role in crop yield. There is growing interest in dissecting the developmental subphases of flowering to better understand and fine-tune plant development and maximize yield. To do this, we used the wild barley nested association mapping (NAM) population HEB-25, comprising 1420 BC1S3 lines, to map quantitative trait loci (QTLs) controlling five developmental traits, plant height, and thousand grain weight. Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) enabled us to locate a total of 89 QTLs that genetically regulate the seven investigated traits. Several exotic QTL alleles proved to be highly effective and potentially useful in barley breeding. For instance, thousand grain weight was increased by 4.5 g and flowering time was reduced by 9.3 days by substituting Barke elite QTL alleles for exotic QTL alleles at the denso/sdw1 and the Ppd-H1 loci, respectively. We showed that the exotic allele at the semi-dwarf locus denso/sdw1 can be used to increase grain weight since it uncouples the negative correlation between shoot elongation and the ripening phase. Our study demonstrates that nested association mapping of HEB-25 can help unravel the genetic regulation of plant development and yield formation in barley. Moreover, since we detected numerous useful exotic QTL alleles in HEB-25, we conclude that the introgression of these wild barley alleles into the elite barley gene pool may enable developmental phases to be specifically fine-tuned in order to maximize thousand grain weight and, potentially, yield in the long term.
Project description:Since the dawn of agriculture, crop yield has always been impaired through abiotic stresses. In a field trial across five locations worldwide, we tested three abiotic stresses, nitrogen deficiency, drought and salinity, using HEB-YIELD, a selected subset of the wild barley nested association mapping population HEB-25. We show that barley flowering time genes Ppd-H1, Sdw1, Vrn-H1 and Vrn-H3 exert pleiotropic effects on plant development and grain yield. Under field conditions, these effects are strongly influenced by environmental cues like day length and temperature. For example, in Al-Karak, Jordan, the day length-sensitive wild barley allele of Ppd-H1 was associated with an increase of grain yield by up to 30% compared to the insensitive elite barley allele. The observed yield increase is accompanied by pleiotropic effects of Ppd-H1 resulting in shorter life cycle, extended grain filling period and increased grain size. Our study indicates that the adequate timing of plant development is crucial to maximize yield formation under harsh environmental conditions. We provide evidence that wild barley alleles, introgressed into elite barley cultivars, can be utilized to support grain yield formation. The presented knowledge may be transferred to related crop species like wheat and rice securing the rising global food demand for cereals.
Project description:The control of flowering time has important impacts on crop yield. The variation in response to day length (photoperiod) and low temperature (vernalization) has been selected in barley to provide adaptation to different environments and farming practices. As a further step towards unraveling the genetic mechanisms underlying flowering time control in barley, we investigated the allelic variation of ten known or putative photoperiod and vernalization pathway genes between two genotypes, the spring barley elite cultivar 'Scarlett' (Hordeum vulgare ssp. vulgare) and the wild barley accession 'ISR42-8' (Hordeum vulgare ssp. spontaneum). The genes studied are Ppd-H1, VRN-H1, VRN-H2, VRN-H3, HvCO1, HvCO2, HvGI, HvFT2, HvFT3 and HvFT4. 'Scarlett' and 'ISR42-8' are the parents of the BC(2)DH advanced backcross population S42 and a set of wild barley introgression lines (S42ILs). The latter are derived from S42 after backcrossing and marker-assisted selection. The genotypes and phenotypes in S42 and S42ILs were utilized to determine the genetic map location of the candidate genes and to test if these genes may exert quantitative trait locus (QTL) effects on flowering time, yield and yield-related traits in the two populations studied. By sequencing the characteristic regions of the genes and genotyping with diagnostic markers, the contrasting allelic constitutions of four known flowering regulation genes were identified as ppd-H1, Vrn-H1, vrn-H2 and vrn-H3 in 'Scarlett' and as Ppd-H1, vrn-H1, Vrn-H2 and a novel allele of VRN-H3 in 'ISR42-8'. All candidate genes could be placed on a barley simple sequence repeat (SSR) map. Seven candidate genes (Ppd-H1, VRN-H2, VRN-H3, HvGI, HvFT2, HvFT3 and HvFT4) were associated with flowering time QTLs in population S42. Four exotic alleles (Ppd-H1, Vrn-H2, vrn-H3 and HvCO1) possibly exhibited significant effects on flowering time in S42ILs. In both populations, the QTL showing the strongest effect corresponded to Ppd-H1. Here, the exotic allele was associated with a reduction of number of days until flowering by 8.0 and 12.7%, respectively. Our data suggest that Ppd-H1, Vrn-H2 and Vrn-H3 may also exert pleiotropic effects on yield and yield-related traits.
Project description:Identifying yield and grain plumpness QTL that are independent of developmental variation or phenology is of paramount importance for developing widely adapted and stable varieties through the application of marker assisted selection. The current study was designed to dissect the genetic basis of yield performance and grain plumpness in southern Australia using three doubled haploid (DH) populations developed from crosses between adapted parents that are similar in maturity and overall plant development. Three interconnected genetic populations, Commander x Fleet (CF), Commander x WI4304 (CW), and Fleet x WI4304 (FW) developed from crossing of Australian elite barley genotypes, were used to map QTL controlling yield and grain plumpness. QTL for grain plumpness and yield were analysed using genetic linkage maps made of genotyping-by-sequencing markers and major phenology genes, and field trials at three drought prone environments for two growing seasons. Seventeen QTL were detected for grain plumpness. Eighteen yield QTL explaining from 1.2% to 25.0% of the phenotypic variation were found across populations and environments. Significant QTL x environment interaction was observed for all grain plumpness and yield QTL, except QPlum.FW-4H.1 and QYld.FW-2H.1. Unlike previous yield QTL studies in barley, none of the major developmental genes, including Ppd-H1, Vrn-H1, Vrn-H2 and Vrn-H3, that drive barley adaption significantly affected grain plumpness and yield here. Twenty-two QTL controlled yield or grain plumpness independently of known maturity QTL or genes. Adjustment for maturity effects through co-variance analysis had no major effect on these yield QTL indicating that they control yield per se.
Project description:The aim of the present study was to dissect the genetic inheritance and interplay of root, shoot and heading attributes for a better understanding of these traits in crop production. For this, we utilized quantitative trait loci (QTL) and candidate gene analysis approach using a second filial (F2) population originated from a cross between spring cultivar Cheri and wild barley accession ICB181160. The F2 population comprising 182 plants was phenotyped for root dry weight (RDW), root volume (RV), root length (RL) and shoot dry weight (SDW), tiller number per plant (TIL) and days to heading (HEA). In parallel, this population was genotyped using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) based cleaved amplified polymorphic sequence (CAPS) markers distributed across the whole genome. Marker by trait analysis revealed 16 QTL for root and shoot traits localized on chromosomes 1H, 3H, 4H, 5H and 7H. The strongest and a common QTL effect for root, shoot and heading traits was identified on chromosome 7H at the putative region of Vrn-H3 gene. Later, we have established PCR based gene specific marker HvVrnH3 revealing polymorphism for early heading Vrn-H3 allele in Cheri and late heading allele vrn-H3 in ICB181160. Genotyping of these alleles revealed a clear co-segregation of early heading Vrn-H3 allele with lower root and shoot attributes, while late heading vrn-H3 allele with more TIL and higher root biomass suggesting a primary insight on the function of Vrn-H3 gene beyond flowering. Genetic interactions of vernalization genes Vrn-H3 with Vrn-H2 and Vrn-H1 also suggested the major role of Vrn-H3 alleles in determining root and shoot trait variations in barley. We believe, these data provide an opportunity for further research to test a precise significance of early heading on yield components and root associated sustainability in crops like barley and wheat.
Project description:The biotrophic rust fungi Puccinia hordei and Puccinia striiformis are important barley pathogens with the potential to cause high yield losses through an epidemic spread. The identification of QTL conferring resistance to these pathogens is the basis for targeted breeding approaches aiming to improve stripe rust and leaf rust resistance of modern cultivars. Exploiting the allelic richness of wild barley accessions proved to be a valuable tool to broaden the genetic base of resistance of barley cultivars. In this study, SNP-based nested association mapping (NAM) was performed to map stripe rust and leaf rust resistance QTL in the barley NAM population HEB-25, comprising 1,420 lines derived from BC1S3 generation. By scoring the percentage of infected leaf area, followed by calculation of the area under the disease progress curve and the average ordinate during a two-year field trial, a large variability of resistance across and within HEB-25 families was observed. NAM based on 5,715 informative SNPs resulted in the identification of twelve and eleven robust QTL for resistance against stripe rust and leaf rust, respectively. Out of these, eight QTL for stripe rust and two QTL for leaf rust are considered novel showing no overlap with previously reported resistance QTL. Overall, resistance to both pathogens in HEB-25 is most likely due to the accumulation of numerous small effect loci. In addition, the NAM results indicate that the 25 wild donor QTL alleles present in HEB-25 strongly differ in regard to their individual effect on rust resistance. In future, the NAM concept will allow to select and combine individual wild barley alleles from different HEB parents to increase rust resistance in barley. The HEB-25 results will support to unravel the genetic basis of rust resistance in barley, and to improve resistance against stripe rust and leaf rust of modern barley cultivars.
Project description:Barley is cultivated more widely than the other major world crops because it adapts well to environmental constraints, such as drought, heat, and day length. To better understand the genetic control of local adaptation in barley, we studied development in the nested association mapping population HEB-25, derived from crossing 25 wild barley accessions with the cultivar 'Barke'. HEB-25 was cultivated in replicated field trials in Dundee (Scotland) and Halle (Germany), differing in regard to day length, precipitation, and temperature. Applying a genome-wide association study, we located 60 and 66 quantitative trait locus (QTL) regions regulating eight plant development traits in Dundee and Halle, respectively. A number of QTLs could be explained by known major genes such as PHOTOPERIOD 1 (Ppd-H1) and FLOWERING LOCUS T (HvFT-1) that regulate plant development. In addition, we observed that developmental traits in HEB-25 were partly controlled via genotype × environment and genotype × donor interactions, defined as location-specific and family-specific QTL effects. Our findings indicate that QTL alleles are available in the wild barley gene pool that show contrasting effects on plant development, which may be deployed to improve adaptation of cultivated barley to future environmental changes.
Project description:The net form of net blotch caused by the necrotrophic fungus Pyrenophora teres f. teres is a major disease of barley, causing high yield losses and reduced malting and feed quality. Exploiting the allelic richness of wild barley proved to be a valuable tool to broaden the genetic base of resistance of modern elite cultivars. In this study, a SNP-based nested association mapping (NAM) study was conducted to map QTL for P. teres resistance in the barley population HEB-25 comprising 1,420 lines derived from BC1S3 generation. By scoring the percentage of infected leaf area followed by calculation of the average ordinate (AO) and scoring of the reaction type (RT) in two-year field trials a large variability of net blotch resistance across and within families of HEB-25 was observed. Genotype response to net blotch infection showed a range of 48.2% for AO (0.9-49.1%) and 6.4 for RT (2.2-8.6). NAM based on 5,715 informative SNPs resulted in the identification of 24 QTL for resistance against net blotch. Out of these, six QTL are considered novel showing no correspondence to previously reported QTL for net blotch resistance. Overall, variation of net blotch resistance in HEB-25 turned out to be controlled by small effect QTL. Results indicate the presence of alleles in HEB-25 differing in their effect on net blotch resistance. Results provide valuable information regarding the genetic architecture of the complex barley-P. teres f. teres interaction as well as for the improvement of net blotch resistance of elite barley cultivars.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) is the fourth most important cereal crop worldwide. Barley production is compromised by many abiotic stresses including drought. Wild barley is a valuable source of alleles that can improve adaptation of cultivated barley to drought stress. RESULTS:In the present study, a nested association mapping population named HEB-25, consisting of 1420 BC1S3 lines that were developed by crossing 25 different wild barley accessions to the elite barley cultivar 'Barke', was evaluated under both control and drought-stressed conditions in the Australian Plant Phenomics Facility, University of Adelaide. Overall, 14 traits reflecting the performance of individual plants in each treatment were calculated from non-destructive imaging over time and destructive end-of-experiment measurements. For each trait, best linear unbiased estimators (BLUEs) were calculated and used for genome-wide association study (GWAS) analysis. Among the quantitative trait loci (QTL) identified for the 14 traits, many co-localise with known inflorescence and developmental genes. We identified a QTL on chromosome 4H where, under drought and control conditions, wild barley alleles increased biomass by 10 and 17% respectively compared to the Barke allele. CONCLUSIONS:Across all traits, QTL which increased phenotypic values were identified, providing a wider range of genetic diversity for the improvement of drought tolerance in barley.
Project description:Drought is a major abiotic stress impeding the yield of cereal crops globally. Particularly in Mediterranean environments, water becomes a limiting factor during the reproductive developmental stage, causing yield losses. The wild progenitor of cultivated barley Hordeum vulgare ssp spontaneum (Hsp) is a potentially useful source of drought tolerance alleles. Wild barley introgression lines like the S42IL library may facilitate the introduction of favorable exotic alleles into breeding material. The complete set of 83 S42ILs was genotyped with the barley 9k iSelect platform in order to complete genetic information obtained in previous studies. The new map comprises 2,487 SNPs, spanning 989.8 cM and covering 94.5% of the Hsp genome. Extent and positions of introgressions were confirmed and new information for ten additional S42ILs was collected. A subset of 49 S42ILs was evaluated for drought response in four greenhouse experiments. Plants were grown under well-watered conditions until ten days post anthesis. Subsequently drought treatment was applied by reducing the available water. Several morphological and harvest parameters were evaluated. Under drought treatment, trait performance was reduced. However, there was no interaction effect between genotype and treatment, indicating that genotypes, which performed best under control treatment, also performed best under drought treatment. In total, 40 QTL for seven traits were detected in this study. For instance, favorable Hsp effects were found for thousand grain weight (TGW) and number of grains per ear under drought stress. In particular, line S42IL-121 is a promising candidate for breeding improved malting cultivars, displaying a TGW, which was increased by 17% under terminal drought stress due to the presence of an unknown wild barley QTL allele on chromosome 4H. The introgression line showed a similar advantage in previous field experiments and in greenhouse experiments under early drought stress. We, thus, recommend using S42IL-121 in barley breeding programs to enhance terminal drought tolerance.