Marker genotype data and grain and malt quality phenotype data from three barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) mapping populations were used to investigate the feasibility of selective genotyping for detection of quantitative trait loci (QTLs). With selective genotyping, only individuals with high and low phenotypic values for the trait of interest are genotyped. Here, genotyping of 10 to 70% of each population (i.e., 5 to 35% in each tail of the phenotypic distribution) was considered. Genomic positions detected by selective genotyping were compared to QTL position estimates from interval mapping analysis using marker genotype data from the entire population. Selective genotyping reliably detected almost all of the mapped QTLs, often with only 10% of the population genotyped. Selective genotyping also detected spurious QTLs in regions of the genome where no significant QTL had been mapped. Even with additional genotyping to verify putative QTLs, the total genotyping effort for detection of QTLs for a single trait by selective genotyping was usually less than 30% of that required for conventional interval mapping. Simultaneous investigation of two or more traits by selective genotyping would require additional genotyping effort, but could still be worthwhile.