, Volume 163, Issue 3, pp 435-447

Changes in allele frequencies in landraces, old and modern barley cultivars of marker loci close to QTL for grain yield under high and low input conditions

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Abstract

Changes in alleles frequencies of marker loci linked to yield quantitative trait loci (QTL) were studied in 188 barley entries (landraces, old and modern cultivars) grown in six trials representing low and high yielding conditions in Spain (2004) and Syria (2004, 2005). A genome wise association analysis was performed per trial, using 811 DArT® markers of known map position. At the first stage of analysis, spatially adjusted genotypic means were created per trial by fitting mixed models. At the second stage, single QTL models were fitted with correction for population substructure, using regression models. Finally, multiple QTL models were constructed by backward selection from a regression model containing all significant markers from the single QTL analyses. In addition to the association analyses per trial, genotype by environment interaction was investigated across the six trials. Landraces seemed best adapted to low yielding environments, while old and modern entries adapted better to high yielding environments. The number of QTL and the magnitude of their effects were comparable for low and high input conditions. However, none of the QTL were found within a given bin at any chromosome in more than two of the six trials. Changes in allele frequencies of marker loci close to QTL for grain yield in landraces, old and modern barley cultivars could be attributed to selection exercised in breeding, suggesting that modern breeding may have increased frequencies of marker alleles close to QTL that favour production particularly under high yield potential environments. Moreover, these results also indicate that there may be scope for improving yield under low input systems, as breeding so far has hardly changed allele frequencies at marker loci close to QTL for low yielding conditions.