Genome-wide association mapping for kernel and malting quality traits using historical European barley records

PLoS One. 2014 Nov 5;9(11):e110046. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0110046. eCollection 2014.


Malting quality is an important trait in breeding barley (Hordeum vulgare L.). It requires elaborate, expensive phenotyping, which involves micro-malting experiments. Although there is abundant historical information available for different cultivars in different years and trials, that historical information is not often used in genetic analyses. This study aimed to exploit historical records to assist in identifying genomic regions that affect malting and kernel quality traits in barley. This genome-wide association study utilized information on grain yield and 18 quality traits accumulated over 25 years on 174 European spring and winter barley cultivars combined with diversity array technology markers. Marker-trait associations were tested with a mixed linear model. This model took into account the genetic relatedness between cultivars based on principal components scores obtained from marker information. We detected 140 marker-trait associations. Some of these associations confirmed previously known quantitative trait loci for malting quality (on chromosomes 1H, 2H, and 5H). Other associations were reported for the first time in this study. The genetic correlations between traits are discussed in relation to the chromosomal regions associated with the different traits. This approach is expected to be particularly useful when designing strategies for multiple trait improvements.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Genome, Plant*
  • Genome-Wide Association Study
  • Hordeum / genetics*
  • Quantitative Trait Loci
  • Quantitative Trait, Heritable*
  • Seeds / anatomy & histology
  • Seeds / chemistry
  • Seeds / genetics*

Grant support

This study was supported by a grant from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) within the GABI program (GENOBAR, project No. 0315066C). The work of Marcos Malosetti and Fred van Eeuwijk was supported by the Generation Challenge Program (GCP), project No. 221. The funders had no role in study design, data collection or analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.