, Volume 27, Issue 4, pp 439-454
Date: 29 Apr 2010

Genome-wide association mapping of Fusarium head blight resistance in contemporary barley breeding germplasm

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Utilization of quantitative trait loci (QTL) identified in bi-parental mapping populations has had limited success for improving complex quantitative traits with low to moderate heritability. Association mapping in contemporary breeding germplasm may lead to more effective marker strategies for crop improvement. To test this approach, we conducted association mapping of two complex traits with moderate heritability; Fusarium head blight (FHB) severity and the grain concentration of mycotoxin associated with disease, deoxynivalenol (DON). To map FHB resistance in barley, 768 breeding lines were evaluated in 2006 and 2007 in four locations. All lines were genotyped with 1,536 SNP markers and QTL were mapped using a mixed model that accounts for relatedness among lines. Average linkage disequilibrium within the breeding germplasm extended beyond 4 cM. Four QTL were identified for FHB severity and eight QTL were identified for the DON concentration in two independent sets of breeding lines. The QTL effects were small, explaining 1–3% of the phenotypic variation, as might be expected for complex polygenic traits. We show that using breeding germplasm to map QTL can complement bi-parental mapping studies by providing independent validation, mapping QTL with more precision, resolving questions of linkage and pleiotropy, and identifying genetic markers that can be applied immediately in crop improvement.