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Large-Scale Data Integration Reveals Colocalization of Gene Functional Groups with Meta-QTL for Multiple Disease Resistance in Barley

    Authors and Affiliations
    • Patrick Schweizer
    • Nils Stein

      Published Online:

      Race-nonspecific and durable resistance of plant genotypes to major pathogens is highly relevant for yield stability and sustainable crop production but difficult to handle in practice due to its polygenic inheritance by quantitative trait loci (QTL). As far as the underlying genes are concerned, very little is currently known in the most important crop plants such as the cereals. Here, we integrated publicly available data for barley (Hordeum vulgare subsp. vulgare) in order to detect the most important genomic regions for QTL-mediated resistance to a number of fungal pathogens and localize specific functional groups of genes within these regions. This identified 20 meta-QTL, including eight hot spots for resistance to multiple diseases that were distributed over all chromosomes. At least one meta-QTL region for resistance to the powdery mildew fungus Blumeria graminis was found to be co-linear between barley and wheat, suggesting partial evolutionary conservation. Large-scale genetic mapping revealed that functional groups of barley genes involved in secretory processes and cell-wall reinforcement were significantly over-represented within QTL for resistance to powdery mildew. Overall, the results demonstrate added value resulting from large-scale genetic and genomic data integration and may inform genomic-selection procedures for race-nonspecific and durable disease resistance in barley.