In this study, phenotyping and single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) genotyping data of 272 accessions of two-rowed spring barley from the USA along with 94 accessions from Kazakhstan were assessed in field trials at six breeding organizations in Kazakhstan to evaluate the performance of the USA samples over three years (2009-2011). The average grain yield over the six locations was not significantly higher in Kazakh accessions in comparison to the USA samples. Twenty four samples from Montana, Washington, the USDA station in Aberdeen Idaho, and the Anheuser-Busch breeding programs showed heavier average yield than the local standard cultivar "Ubagan". Principal Coordinate analysis based on two sets of SNP data suggested that Kazakh accessions were closest to the USA accessions among eight groups of samples from different parts of the World, and within five US barley origin groups the samples from Montana and Washington perfectly matched six groups of Kazakh breeding origins. A genome-wide association study (GWAS) using data from eighteen field trials allowed the identification of ninety one marker-trait associations (MTA) in two or more environments for nine traits, including key characters such as heading time (HT), number of kernels per spike (NKS), and thousand grain weight (TGW). Our GWAS allowed the identification of eight MTA for HT and NKS, and sixteen MTA for TGW, when those MTA were linked to mapped SNPs. Based on comparisons of chromosomal positions of MTA identified in this study, and positions of known genes and quantitative trait loci for HT, NKS and TGW, it was suggested that MTA for HT on chromosome 2H (at 158.2 cM, 11_21414), MTA for NKS on 5H (at 118.6 cM, 11_20298), and two MTA for TGW on chromosome 4H (at 94.7 cM, 12_30718, and at 129.3 cM, 11_20013) were potentially new associations in barley. GWAS suggested that six MTA for HT, including two on chromosome 1H, two on chromosome 3H, and one each on chromosomes 4H and 6H, had useful pleiotropic effects for improving barley spike traits.
Genievskaya, Y., Almerekova, S., Sariev, B., Chudinov, V., Tokhetova, L., Sereda, G., … Turuspekov, Y. (2018). Marker-trait associations in two-rowed spring barley accessions from Kazakhstan and the USA. PLoS ONE, 13(10). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0205421