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Application of molecular markers in barley improvement

Cakir, M., Galwey, N. and Poulsen, D. (2000) Application of molecular markers in barley improvement. In: Crop Updates 2000: Cereals Update, 16 - 17 February 2000, Rendezvous Observation City Hotel, Scarborough, Perth


The use of molecular markers in plant breeding is well underway. Though they are expensive to develop, molecular markers open the possibility of reliable and rapid selection for a wide range of traits. In many cases marker-based selection will eventually be more efficient and cost-effective than evaluation of plants in the field. Marker-based selection has particular potential for the genetic improvement of traits that must be painstakingly evaluated after harvest, such as malting quality in barley.

The objective of this study is to generate and identify molecular markers to be used in marker-assisted breeding for disease resistance, quality, and agronomic traits in barley. Molecular markers such as RFLPs (Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphisms), AFLPs (Amplified Fragment Length Polymorphisms), and SSRs (Simple Sequence Repeats) are being used. Major traits of interest are scald resistance, net blotch, stripe rust, basic vegetative period, plant height, time to maturity, grain size, malt extract, alpha amylase activity and grain yield. This process requires the construction of a mapping population with the parents that differ for the desired traits and fingerprinting of the progeny lines with the markers. Depending on the size of the population and the genetics of a trait a full population analysis or a bulk segregant analysis will be used, with the DNA markers, to identify significant chromosomal regions so called 'Quantitative Trait Loci'.

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