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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Comparative mapping of quantitative trait loci associated with waterlogging tolerance in barley (Hordeum vulgare L.)

Haobing Li1, René Vaillancourt2, Neville Mendham1 and Meixue Zhou3*

Author Affiliations

1 Tasmanian Institute of Agricultural Research and School of Agricultural Science, University of Tasmania, Private Bag 54, Hobart, TAS 7001, Australia

2 School of Plant Science, University of Tasmania, Private Bag 55, Hobart, TAS 7001, Australia

3 Tasmanian Institute of Agricultural Research and School of Agricultural Science, University of Tasmania, P.O. Box 46, Kings Meadows, TAS 7249, Australia

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BMC Genomics 2008, 9:401  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-9-401

Published: 27 August 2008

Abstract

Background

Resistance to soil waterlogging stress is an important plant breeding objective in high rainfall or poorly drained areas across many countries in the world. The present study was conducted to identify quantitative trait loci (QTLs) associated with waterlogging tolerance (e.g. leaf chlorosis, plant survival and biomass reduction) in barley and compare the QTLs identified across two seasons and in two different populations using a composite map constructed with SSRs, RFLP and Diversity Array Technology (DArT) markers.

Results

Twenty QTLs for waterlogging tolerance related traits were found in the two barley double haploid (DH) populations. Several of these QTLs were validated through replication of experiments across seasons or by co-location across populations. Some of these QTLs affected multiple waterlogging tolerance related traits, for example, QTL Qwt4-1 contributed not only to reducing barley leaf chlorosis, but also increasing plant biomass under waterlogging stress, whereas other QTLs controlled both leaf chlorosis and plant survival.

Conclusion

Improving waterlogging tolerance in barley is still at an early stage compared with other traits. QTLs identified in this study have made it possible to use marker assisted selection (MAS) in combination with traditional field selection to significantly enhance barley breeding for waterlogging tolerance. There may be some degree of homoeologous relationship between QTLs controlling barley waterlogging tolerance and that in other crops as discussed in this study.