In several crops including cereals, carbon isotope discrimination (Δ) has been associated with drought tolerance in terms of water-use efficiency and yield stability in drought-prone environments. By using a complete genetic map generated from 167 recombinant inbred lines from a cross between Tadmor and Er/Apm, QTLs associated with grain Δ have been detected in barley grown in three Mediterranean field environments, two differing only in water availability. Ten QTLs were identified: one was specific to one environment, two presented interaction with the environment, six presented main effects across three or two environments and one presented both effects. Heading date did not contribute to the environment (E) and G x E effects acting on Δ. Seasonal rainfall and the ratio of rainfall to evapo-transpiration made large contributions to the environmental effect, but their influence on G x E was weaker. Eight QTLs for Δ co-located with QTLs for physiological traits related to plant water status and/or osmotic adjustment, and/or for agronomic traits previously measured on the same population. Some perspectives in terms of characterising drought tolerance are evoked.
- Carbon isotope discrimination
- Mediterranean conditions