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Dissecting the genetic basis of grain size and weight in barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) by QTL and comparative genetic analyses

Wang, Q., Sun, G., Ren, X., Du, B., Cheng, Y., Wang, Y., Li, C. and Sun, D. (2019) Dissecting the genetic basis of grain size and weight in barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) by QTL and comparative genetic analyses. Frontiers in Plant Science, 10 .

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Grain size and weight are crucial components of barley yield and quality and are the target characteristics of domestication and modern breeding. Despite this, little is known about the genetic and molecular mechanisms of grain size and weight in barley. Here, we evaluated nine traits determining grain size and weight, including thousand grain weight (Tgw), grain length (Gl), grain width (Gw), grain length-width ratio (Lwr), grain area (Ga), grain perimeter (Gp), grain diameter (Gd), grain roundness (Gr), and factor form density (Ffd), in a double haploid (DH) population for three consecutive years. Using five mapping methods, we successfully identified 60 reliable QTLs and 27 hotspot regions that distributed on all chromosomes except 6H which controls the nine traits of grain size and weight. Moreover, we also identified 164 barley orthologs of 112 grain size/weight genes from rice, maize, wheat and 38 barley genes that affect grain yield. A total of 45 barley genes or orthologs were identified as potential candidate genes for barley grain size and weight, including 12, 20, 9, and 4 genes or orthologs for barley, rice, maize, and wheat, respectively. Importantly, 20 of them were located in the 14 QTL hotspot regions on chromosome 1H, 2H, 3H, 5H, and 7H, which controls barley grain size and weight. These results indicated that grain size/weight genes of other cereal species might have the same or similar functions in barley. Our findings provide new insights into the understanding of the genetic basis of grain size and weight in barley, and new information to facilitate high-yield breeding in barley. The function of these potential candidate genes identified in this study are worth exploring and studying in detail.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
Publisher: Frontiers
Copyright: © 2019 The Author(s)
United Nations SDGs: Goal 2: Zero Hunger
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