Genome-wide association mapping of agronomic and morphologic traits in highly structured populations of barley cultivars

Theor Appl Genet. 2012 Feb;124(2):233-46. doi: 10.1007/s00122-011-1697-2. Epub 2011 Sep 14.


Genome-wide association study (GWAS) has become an obvious general approach for studying traits of agricultural importance in higher plants, especially crops. Here, we present a GWAS of 32 morphologic and 10 agronomic traits in a collection of 615 barley cultivars genotyped by genome-wide polymorphisms from a recently developed barley oligonucleotide pool assay. Strong population structure effect related to mixed sampling based on seasonal growth habit and ear row number is present in this barley collection. Comparison of seven statistical approaches in a genome-wide scan for significant associations with or without correction for confounding by population structure, revealed that in reducing false positive rates while maintaining statistical power, a mixed linear model solution outperforms genomic control, structured association, stepwise regression control and principal components adjustment. The present study reports significant associations for sixteen morphologic and nine agronomic traits and demonstrates the power and feasibility of applying GWAS to explore complex traits in highly structured plant samples.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Computer Simulation
  • Genetic Markers / genetics
  • Genetics, Population*
  • Genome-Wide Association Study
  • Genotype
  • Hordeum / anatomy & histology*
  • Hordeum / genetics*
  • Hordeum / growth & development*
  • Linear Models
  • Phenotype*
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide / genetics


  • Genetic Markers