Journal Article

The development and application of molecular markers for abiotic stress tolerance in barley

B.P. Forster, R.P. Ellis, W.T.B. Thomas, A.C. Newton, R. Tuberosa, D. This, R.A. El‐Enein, M.H. Bahri and M. Ben Salem

in Journal of Experimental Botany

Volume 51, issue 342, pages 19-27
Published in print January 2000 | ISSN: 0022-0957
Published online January 2000 | e-ISSN: 1460-2431 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jexbot/51.342.19
The development and application of molecular markers for abiotic stress tolerance in barley

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This article represents some current thinking and objectives in the use of molecular markers to abiotic stress tolerance. Barley has been chosen for study as it is an important crop species, as well as a model for genetic and physiological studies. It is an important crop and, because of its well‐studied genetics and physiology, is an excellent candidate in which to devise more efficient breeding methods. Abiotic stress work on cultivated gene pools of small grain cereals frequently shows that adaptive and developmental genes are strongly associated with responses. Developmental genes have strong pleiotropic effects on a number of performance traits, not just abiotic stresses. One concern is that much of the genetic variation for improving abiotic stress tolerance has been lost during domestication, selection and modern breeding, leaving pleiotropic effects of the selected genes for development and adaptation. Such genes are critical in matching cultivars to their target agronomic environment, and since there is little leverage in changing these, other sources of variation may be required. In barley, and many other crops, greater variation to abiotic stresses exists in primitive landraces and related wild species gene pools. Wild barley, Hordeum spontaneum C. Koch is the progenitor of cultivated barley, Hordeum vulgare L. and is easily hybridized to H. vulgare. Genetic fingerprinting of H. spontaneum has revealed genetic m arker associations with site‐of‐origin ecogeographic factors and also experimentally imposed stresses. Genotypes and collection sites have been identified which show the desired variation for particular stresses. Doubled haploid and other segregating populations, including landrace derivatives have been used to map genetically the loci involved. These data can be used in molecular breeding approaches to improve the drought tolerance of barley. One strategy involves screening for genetic markers and physiological traits for drought tolerance, and the associated problem of drought relief‐induced mildew susceptibility in naturally droughted fields of North Africa.

Keywords: Molecular markers; abiotic stress; molecular breeding; cultivated barley; Hordeum vulgare; wild barley; Hordeum spontaneum.

Journal Article.  6487 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Plant Sciences and Forestry

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