Association mapping of grain hardness, polyphenol oxidase, total phenolics, amylose content, and β-glucan in US barley breeding germplasm

Mohsen Mohammadi, Jeffrey B. Endelman, Sindhu Nair, Shiaoman Chao, Stephen S. Jones, Gary J. Muehlbauer, Steven E. Ullrich, Byung Kee Baik, Mitchell L. Wise, Kevin P. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


A renewed interest in breeding barley specifically for food end-uses is being driven by increased consumer interest in healthier foods. We conducted association mapping on physicochemical properties of barley that play a role in food quality and processing including grain hardness, polyphenol oxidase activity, total phenolics, amylose content, and β-glucan. We used 3,069 elite two-row and six-row spring barley breeding lines from eight US breeding programs and 2,041 SNP markers for association mapping. Marker–trait associations were identified using a mixed model that incorporated population structure and kinship. We detected two previously identified QTL for grain hardness on chromosome 2H in the telomeric region of 5H along with two novel regions on 4H and 6H. For amylose content, we detected marker–trait associations on 7H from 0.63 to 30 cM. We detected four regions on chromosomes 1H, 2H, 3H, and 4H associated with polyphenol oxidase activity. The chromosome 2H region co-localized with the two previously mapped polyphenol oxidase genes PPO1 and PPO2, and the regions on chromosomes 1H, 3H, and 4H QTL were novel. For total phenolics, we identified three significant regions on 3H, 4H, and 5H. Two regions on 2H and 7H were associated with β-glucan. Both previously identified and novel QTL are segregating in elite US breeding germplasm. Only three of the 24 SNPs that were associated with traits using either the two-row or six-row mapping panel were identified in both panels. Nine SNPs were detected in the individual two-row or six-row panels that were not detected in the analysis using the complete panel and accounting for population structure. The distribution of favorable alleles at these loci that underpin food quality across the breeding programs suggests several strategies to use markers to improve barley for food uses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1229-1243
Number of pages15
JournalMolecular Breeding
Issue number3
StatePublished - Oct 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments We gratefully acknowledge the technical support of Tracy Harris for phenotyping the barley lines. We also thank the breeders who contributed two-row spring lines for this research: D. Obert, formerly USDA-ARS, Aberdeen, ID; T. Blake, Montana State University; and R. Horsley, North Dakota State University. T. Blake and K. Smith grew the grain samples for phenotyping. This research was supported by USDA-CSREES-NRI Grant No. 2006-55606-16722 and USDA-NIFA Grant No. 2009-85606-05701 and 2011-68002-30029, the Washington State University Agricultural Research Center, and the Washington State University Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.


  • Association genetics
  • Barley
  • Food quality
  • QTL


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