Heading date QTL in a spring × winter barley cross evaluated in Mediterranean environments
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- Cuesta-Marcos, A., Igartua, E., Ciudad, F.J. et al. Mol Breeding (2008) 21: 455. doi:10.1007/s11032-007-9145-3
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Heading date is a key trait for the adaptation of barley to Mediterranean environments. We studied the genetic control of flowering time under Northern Spanish (Mediterranean) conditions using a new population derived from the spring/winter cross Beka/Mogador. A set of 120 doubled haploid lines was evaluated in the field, and under controlled temperature and photoperiod conditions. Genotyping was carried out with 215 markers (RFLP, STS, RAPD, AFLP, SSR), including markers for vernalization candidate genes, HvBM5 (Vrn-H1), HvZCCT (Vrn-H2), and HvT SNP22 (Ppd-H1). Four major QTL, and the interactions between them, accounted for most of the variation in both field (71–92%) and greenhouse trials (55–86%). These were coincident with the location of the major genes for response to vernalization and short photoperiod (Ppd-H2 on chromosome 1H). A major QTL, near the centromere of chromosome 2H was the most important under autumn sowing conditions. Although it is detected under all conditions, its action seems not independent from environmental cues. An epistatic interaction involving the two vernalization genes was detected when the plants were grown without vernalization and under long photoperiod. The simultaneous presence of the winter Mogador allele at the two loci produced a marked delay in heading date, beyond a mere additive effect. This interaction, combined with the effect of the gene responsive to short photoperiod, Ppd-H2, was found responsible of the phenomenon known as short-day vernalization, present in some of the lines of the population.