Molecular and phenotypic diversity of ICARDA spring barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) collection
Plant breeders are interested in using diverse genotypes in hybridization that can segregate for traits of importance with possibility of selection and genetic gain. Information on molecular and agro-morphological diversity helps the breeders reduce the effort for parental selection and helps the advancement of generations. A phenotypic and molecular diversity study, using 24 traits (agronomic and disease) and 6519 SNPs in a diverse collection of 336 spring barley genotypes, was carried out at Marchouch and Jemma Shiam research stations in Morocco. Based on structure and multivariate analyses, strong differentiation between the two- and six-row types were observed. The linkage disequilibrium (LD) decay of the current collection (for the combined population) was up to 3.58 cM (r 2 = 0.15) while LD decay were estimated 3.91 and 2.36 cM for two- and six-row barley, respectively. PCA of agro-morphological traits revealed grain per spike, net form of net blotch (NFNB), spot form of net blotch (SFNB), and 1000 kernel weight were the most discriminatory traits in the current collection. Association mapping in the two independent populations will be ideal for identification of markers, and QTL related to traits. The generated information on relatedness between individuals will help identify diverse genotypes for breeding programs.