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Theor Appl Genet. 2012 Dec;125(8):1735-49. doi: 10.1007/s00122-012-1950-3. Epub 2012 Aug 17.

Evaluation of diagnostic molecular markers for DUS phenotypic assessment in the cereal crop, barley (Hordeum vulgare ssp. vulgare L.).

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John Bingham Laboratory, National Institute of Agricultural Botany (NIAB), Huntington Road, Cambridge, CB3 0LE, UK.


The deployment of genetic markers is of interest in crop assessment and breeding programmes, due to the potential savings in cost and time afforded. As part of the internationally recognised framework for the awarding of Plant Breeders' Rights (PBR), new barley variety submissions are evaluated using a suite of morphological traits to ensure they are distinct, uniform and stable (DUS) in comparison to all previous submissions. Increasing knowledge of the genetic control of many of these traits provides the opportunity to assess the potential of deploying diagnostic/perfect genetic markers in place of phenotypic assessment. Here, we identify a suite of 25 genetic markers assaying for 14 DUS traits, and implement them using a single genotyping platform (KASPar). Using a panel of 169 UK barley varieties, we show that phenotypic state at three of these traits can be perfectly predicted by genotype. Predictive values for an additional nine traits ranged from 81 to 99 %. Finally, by comparison of varietal discrimination based on phenotype and genotype resulted in correlation of 0.72, indicating that deployment of molecular markers for varietal discrimination could be feasible in the near future. Due to the flexibility of the genotyping platform used, the genetic markers described here can be used in any number or combination, in-house or by outsourcing, allowing flexible deployment by users. These markers are likely to find application where tracking of specific alleles is required in breeding programmes, or for potential use within national assessment programmes for the awarding of PBRs.

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