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Genetic mapping and physiological characterization of water-use efficiency in barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) on the Canadian Prairies Open Access


Other title
carbon isotope discrimination
water-use efficiency
quantitative trait loci
drought tolerance
recombinant inbred line
Canadian Prairies
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Chen, Jing
Supervisor and department
Scott X. Chang, Department of Renewable Resources
Anthony O. Anyia, Alberta Innovates Technology Futures
Examining committee member and department
Edward Bork, Department of Agricultural, Food & Nutritional Science
Jaswinder Singh, Department of Plant Science, McGill University
Mike Deyholos, Department of Biological Sciences
Nat Kav, Department of Agricultural, Food & Nutritional Science
Department of Renewable Resources

Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
Temporal or seasonal water deficit is one of the major factors limiting crop yield on the Canadian Prairies. Empirical knowledge suggests that carbon isotope discrimination (Δ13C), through its negative relationship with water-use efficiency (WUE), is a good index for selecting crop varieties with stable yield in some rain-fed environments. Identification of quantitative trait loci (QTL) and linked markers for leaf Δ13C will help select genotypes with improved WUE in breeding programs. This thesis research investigated the genetic and physiological determinants of Δ13C variation in Canadian spring barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) and used two recombinant inbred line (RIL) mapping populations, including 200 RILs of W89001002003 × I60049 (six-row type) and 127 RILs of Merit × H93174006 (two-row type) to identify QTLs and their linked molecular markers for the trait. The parental lines used to produce the mapping populations and several of the RILs maintained consistent ranking of leaf Δ13C across years and in different experiments. The broad-sense heritability of leaf Δ13C was 0.8, suggesting stability of this trait under the environments studied. Leaf Δ13C was positively correlated with stomatal conductance (gs) in both greenhouse and field experiments, suggesting that gs caused most of the variation in leaf Δ13C. Low leaf Δ13C genotypes such as ‘CDC Cowboy’ and RIL ‘147’ achieved high WUE and yield by maintaining a high photosynthesis rate at a low gs, which suggests that it is possible to select low Δ13C genotypes that can maintain high yield under low moisture conditions. Using two mapping populations and phenotypic data for leaf Δ13C and agronomic traits collected from 4 different field environments, a total of 12 (six-row population) and 5 (two-row population) QTLs for leaf Δ13C were detected. A transgressive segregation pattern for leaf Δ13C was observed among RILs. For the six-row RILs, a major QTL for leaf Δ13C co-located with several agronomic traits on chromosome 3H near SSR marker Bmag606 (9.3, 9.4 and 10.7 cM interval) was identified across environments. This marker when validated may be useful in breeding programs for improving WUE and yield stability of barley on the Canadian Prairies.
License granted by Jing Chen ( on 2011-07-16T05:16:10Z (GMT): Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of the above terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis, and except as herein provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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