Breeding progress in barley yield in the UK is being sustained at a rate in the order of 1% per annum against a background of declining seed sales. Commercial barley breeders are largely concentrating upon the elite local gene pool but with genotypic evidence suggesting that there is still considerable variation between current recommended cultivars, even those produced as half-sibs by the same breeder. Marker Assisted Selection (MAS) protocols could be substituted for conventional selection for a number of major-gene targets but, in the majority of cases, conventional selection is more resource efficient. Results from current QTL mapping studies have not yet identified sufficiently robust and validated targets for UK barley breeders to adopt MAS to assist in the selection of complex traits such as yield and malting quality. Results from multiple population mapping amongst the elite gene pool being utilised by breeders and from association studies of elite germplasm tested as part of the UK recommended list trial process do, however, show some promise.
- Major genes
- Marker assisted selection