, Volume 115, Issue 7, pp 993-1001
Date: 23 Aug 2007

Haplotype analysis of vernalization loci in European barley germplasm reveals novel VRN-H1 alleles and a predominant winter VRN-H1/VRN-H2 multi-locus haplotype

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In barley, variation in the requirement for vernalization (an extended period of low temperature before flowering can occur) is determined by the VRN-H1, -H2 and -H3 loci. In European cultivated germplasm, most variation in vernalization requirement is accounted for by alleles at VRN-H1 and VRN-H2 only, but the range of allelic variation is largely unexplored. Here we characterise VRN-H1 and VRN-H2 haplotypes in 429 varieties representing a large portion of the acreage sown to barley in Western Europe over the last 60 years. Analysis of genotype, intron I sequencing data and growth habit tests identified three novel VRN-H1 alleles and determined the most frequent VRN-H1 intron I rearrangements. Combined analysis of VRN-H1 and VRN-H2 alleles resulted in the classification of seventeen VRN-H1/VRN-H2 multi-locus haplotypes, three of which account for 79% of varieties. The molecular markers employed here represent powerful diagnostic tools for prediction of growth habit and assessment of varietal purity. These markers will also allow development of germplasm to test the behaviour of individual alleles with the aim of understanding the relationship between allelic variation and adaptation to specific agri-environments.

Communicated by J. Dubcovsky.