Cold Conditioned: Discovery of Novel Alleles for Low-Temperature Tolerance in the Vavilov Barley Collection

Ahmad H. Sallam, Kevin P Smith, Gongshe Hu, Jamie Sherman, Peter Stephen Baenziger, Jochum J Wiersma, Carl Duley, Eric J. Stockinger, Mark E. Sorrells, Tamas Szinyei, Igor G. Loskutov, Olga N. Kovaleva, Jed Eberly, Brian J. Steffenson

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3 Scopus citations


Climate changes leading to higher summer temperatures can adversely affect cool season crops like spring barley. In the Upper Midwest region of the United States, one option for escaping this stress factor is to plant winter or facultative type cultivars in the autumn and then harvest in early summer before the onset of high-temperature stress. However, the major challenge in breeding such cultivars is incorporating sufficient winter hardiness to survive the extremely low temperatures that commonly occur in this production region. To broaden the genetic base for winter hardiness in the University of Minnesota breeding program, 2,214 accessions from the N. I. Vavilov Institute of Plant Industry (VIR) were evaluated for winter survival (WS) in St. Paul, Minnesota. From this field trial, 267 (>12%) accessions survived [designated as the VIR-low-temperature tolerant (LTT) panel] and were subsequently evaluated for WS across six northern and central Great Plains states. The VIR-LTT panel was genotyped with the Illumina 9K SNP chip, and then a genome-wide association study was performed on seven WS datasets. Twelve significant associations for WS were identified, including the previously reported frost resistance gene FR-H2 as well as several novel ones. Multi-allelic haplotype analysis revealed the most favorable alleles for WS in the VIR-LTT panel as well as another recently studied panel (CAP-LTT). Seventy-eight accessions from the VIR-LTT panel exhibited a high and consistent level of WS and select ones are being used in winter barley breeding programs in the United States and in a multiparent population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number800284
JournalFrontiers in Plant Science
StatePublished - Dec 15 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Shiaoman Chao (retired) USDA-ARS Fargo, North Dakota for genotyping and performing allele calls for the VIR-LTT panel.

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2021 Sallam, Smith, Hu, Sherman, Baenziger, Wiersma, Duley, Stockinger, Sorrells, Szinyei, Loskutov, Kovaleva, Eberly and Steffenson.


  • barley
  • facultative growth habit
  • genomewide association study
  • germplasm resources
  • low-temperature tolerance
  • winter survival


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