Relationship between hardness genes and quality in barley (Hordeum vulgare)

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Fox, GP, Nguyen, L, Bowman, J, Poulsen, DME, Inkerman, PA & Henry, RJ 2007, 'Relationship between hardness genes and quality in barley (Hordeum vulgare)', Journal of the Institute of Brewing, vol. 113, no. 1, pp. 87-95.

The publisher's version of this article is available at: http://www.scientificsocieties.org/jib/papers/2007/G-2007-0418-492.pdf

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Barley (Hordeum vulgare) genotypes were sequenced for polymorphism in the hardness genes, these being the three hordoindoline (hin a, hin b1 and hin b2) genes. The variation in haplotype was determined by sequencing for single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). Polymorphism between each gene was then compared to grain hardness (three methods), malt quality characteristics (hot water extract and friability) and cattle feed quality. Two haplotypes were found in a set of forty barley genotypes. For hin a, two alleles were present, namely hin a1 and hin a2. However, there was no specific hin a allele that was associated with grain hardness, malt and feed quality. Barley has two hin b genes, namely hin b1 and hin b2, and the genotypes tested here had one of two alleles for each gene. However, there were no obvious effects on hardness or quality from either of these hin b alleles. Unlike wheat, where a clear relationship has been demonstrated between a number of SNPs in the wheat hardness genes and quality (soft or hard wheat), there was no such relationship for barley. Despite the wide range in hardness, malt and feed quality, there were only two haplotypes for each of the hin a, hin b1 and hin b2 genes and there was no clear relationship between grain hardness, malt or feed quality. The genotypes used in this study demonstrated that there was a low level of polymorphism in hardness genes in current commercial varieties as well as breeding lines and these polymorphisms had no impact on quality.

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