GWAS analysis in spring barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) for morphological traits exposed to drought
Association analysis based on linkage disequilibrium has become a common and powerful approach for detection of QTLs underlying complex agronomic traits including drought tolerance. To determine marker/trait association, 148 modern European spring barley cultivars were evaluated under drought stress. Associations of morphological traits with AFLP/SSR markers were investigated based on the mixed linear model using the TASSEL3.0. Population structure was estimated using various methods including Bayesian clustering model by STRUCTURE software, PCoA analysis, NJ dendrogram and Hierarchical Clustering. Linkage disequilibrium patterns were explored among the whole genome and each chromosome separately. All the analysis for population structure divided the population into two sub-groups. Linkage disequilibrium analysis showed that by increasing genetic distance, LD decreases. Totally, 167 significant marker trait associations were found which delineated into 65 QTLs in both treatments. Two stable QTLs on 5H at 86.880 cM were detected for Internode Length and on 3H at 126.421 cM for flag leaf length in drought stress treatment. Fourteen QTLs were co-localized with previously reported QTLs and others were novel. The results indicate that these putative genomic regions contain genes that have pleiotropic effects on morphological traits in drought condition.