Mapping of quantitative trait loci for agronomic and morpho-physiological traits under drought environments in spring barley (Hordeum vulgare L.)

Haitham Sayed, Adnan Al-Yassin, Salvatore Ceccarelli, Stefania Grando, Henrik Stotz, Bruce Fitt, Michael Baum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Downloads (Pure)


Barley production is severely affected by drought caused by the unpredictable Mediterranean weather patterns, which include uneven rainfall and extreme temperatures. This leads to a decrease in crop yield. However, to tackle this issue, landraces and wild species are crucial sources of variation for stress adaptive traits. By incorporating these traits into improved varieties, we may see an increase in yield and stability under drought conditions. Seventy-six quantitative traits loci (QTLs) identified traits were mapped using recombinant inbred lines (RIL) population Arta × Harmal-2//Esp/1808-4L, evaluated at six dry and semi-dry areas over 3 years. The study investigated traits such as grain yield, biological yield, harvest index, kernel weight, seed per head, days to heading, kernel filling duration, growth vigour, growth habit, lodging and plant height. Numerous QTLs were discovered that are associated with various phenotypic traits related to grain yield, kernel yield, duration of filling period and days to heading. For areas with less than 250 mm/annum of rainfall, QTLs were identified on chromosome 2H for biological yield, days to heading, and kernel weight, on 1H for harvest index, and on 2H, 4H, and 5H for kernel weight. For semi-dry areas with rainfall less than 450 mm, QTLs were found on chromosome 6H for grain yield, 2H and 5H for kernel weight, 1H and 6H for seed per head, and 2H for days to heading. Notably, these QTLs significantly explain more than 10% of phenotypic variation. The 2H chromosome was found to have the most important QTL and pleiotropic effect for yield and its components, such as kernel weight, days to heading, and biological yield. The cross Arta/Harmal was adapted, and mechanisms were developed to cope with drought stress, reflected by the significant and positive correlation of biological yield and harvest index with grain yield. Chromosomes 1H, 2H, 4H and 5H harbour more than 60% of mapped QTLs for dry areas. It is worth noting that the QTLs mentioned earlier, along with the kernel weight QTLs (QKW 1.5, QKW2.7b, QKW4.1, QKW6.7, QKW6.9), have consistently exhibited positive effects on crop yield in semi-dry and dry areas, making them potential candidates for breeding drought-tolerant crops. Genomic co-localisation of the QTL for Arta/Harmal population suggested that selection for drought through linked markers can be an option for drought tolerance selection for barley in dry areas.
Original languageEnglish
Article number13178
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
JournalPlant Breeding
Early online date3 Jun 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 3 Jun 2024


  • breeding
  • quantitative trait loci
  • dry environments
  • genotype × environment
  • drought stress
  • yield
  • QTL
  • adaptation
  • barley
  • pleiotropy
  • mapping population


Dive into the research topics of 'Mapping of quantitative trait loci for agronomic and morpho-physiological traits under drought environments in spring barley (Hordeum vulgare L.)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this