Yield-related salinity tolerance traits identified in a nested association mapping (NAM) population of wild barley

Stephanie Saade, Andreas Maurer, Mohammed Shahid, Helena Oakey, Sandra M. Schmöckel, Sónia Negrão, Klaus Pillen, Mark A. Tester

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96 Scopus citations


Producing sufficient food for nine billion people by 2050 will be constrained by soil salinity, especially in irrigated systems. To improve crop yield, greater understanding of the genetic control of traits contributing to salinity tolerance in the field is needed. Here, we exploit natural variation in exotic germplasm by taking a genome-wide association approach to a new nested association mapping population of barley called HEB-25. The large population (1,336 genotypes) allowed cross-validation of loci, which, along with two years of phenotypic data collected from plants irrigated with fresh and saline water, improved statistical power. We dissect the genetic architecture of flowering time under high salinity and we present genes putatively affecting this trait and salinity tolerance. In addition, we identify a locus on chromosome 2H where, under saline conditions, lines homozygous for the wild allele yielded 30% more than did lines homozygous for the Barke allele. Introgressing this wild allele into elite cultivars could markedly improve yield under saline conditions. © 2016 The Author(s).
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 2 2016

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: The research reported in this publication was supported by funding from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) and the German Research Foundation (DFG) via the priority program 1530: Flowering time control - from natural variation to crop improvement (Grant Pi339/7-1), via ERA-CAPS (Grant Pi339/8-1) and from funds from the Interdisciplinary Centre for Crop Plant Research (IZN), Halle, Germany. We are grateful to TraitGenetics GmbH, Gatersleben, Germany, for genotyping HEB-25 with the Infinium iSelect 9 k SNP chip. We thank Dr. Ibrahim Salah for his contributions to the design of the experiment in the field. The ICBA team is gratefully acknowledged for managing and phenotyping the field experiments in 2013–2014 and 2014–2015.


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