Background: We developed and characterised a highly mutagenised TILLING population of the barley (Hordeum vulgare) cultivar Golden Promise. Golden Promise is the 'reference' genotype for barley transformation and a primary objective of using this cultivar was to be able to genetically complement observed mutations directly in order to prove gene function. Importantly, a reference genome assembly of Golden Promise has also recently been developed. As our primary interest was to identify mutations in genes involved in meiosis and recombination, to characterise the population we focused on a set of 46 genes from the literature that are possible meiosis gene candidates.
Results: Sequencing 20 plants from the population using whole exome capture revealed that the mutation density in this population is high (one mutation every 154 kb), and consequently even in this small number of plants we identified several interesting mutations. We also recorded some issues with seed availability and germination. We subsequently designed and applied a simple two-dimensional pooling strategy to identify mutations in varying numbers of specific target genes by Illumina short read pooled-amplicon sequencing and subsequent deconvolution. In parallel we assembled a collection of semi-sterile mutants from the population and used a custom exome capture array targeting the 46 candidate meiotic genes to identify potentially causal mutations.
Conclusions: We developed a highly mutagenised barley TILLING population in the transformation competent cultivar Golden Promise. We used novel and cost-efficient screening approaches to successfully identify a broad range of potentially deleterious variants that were subsequently validated by Sanger sequencing. These resources combined with a high-quality genome reference sequence opens new possibilities for efficient functional gene validation.
- Amplicon sequencing
- Exome capture
- Functional genomics