Genetic dissection of endosperm hydration in malting barley (Hordeum vulgare)


Hydration of the endosperm is a critical part of the malting process that ensures proper modification of the grain. However, little is known about the genetic controls of endosperm hydration and its relationship to agronomic and malt quality traits. The extent of endosperm hydration is estimated through hydration index (HYI). We measured HYI, agronomic, and malt quality traits on a 169-line subset of the NSGC Barley Core Panel, which includes global malt lines, some dating from the inception of European breeding programmes. Utilizing GWAS, 61 QTLs were identified for HYI, dormancy, agronomic, and malt quality traits. Of these, six were found to be related to HYI and were located on 1H, 2H, 3H, 6H, and 7H. We found HYI QTLs cosegregating with kernel size and hardness (1H and 3H), malting quality (2H and 6H), and dormancy (2H and 6H). These results indicate that endosperm hydration after steeping can be improved by selecting high HYI alleles on 2H, 6H, and 7H, positively impacting malting quality without negatively impacting kernel size or dormancy.



barley, dormancy, GWAS, hydration index, malt, quality


Jensen, J., Turner, H., Lachowiec, J., Lutgen, G., Yin, X. S., & Sherman, J. (2023). Genetic dissection of endosperm hydration in malting barley (Hordeum vulgare). Plant Breeding, 142(5), 639–649.
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