Genebank genomics highlights the diversity of a global barley collection

Year: 2019


Milner SG, Jost M, Taketa S, Mazón ER, Himmelbach A, Oppermann M, Weise S, Knüpffer H, Basterrechea M, König P, Schüler D, Sharma R, Pasam RK, Rutten T, Guo G, Xu D, Zhang J, Herren G, Müller T, Krattinger SG, Keller B, Jiang Y, Yuli Gonzalez M, Zhao Y, Habekuß A, Färber S, Ordon F, Lange M, Börner A, Graner A, Reif JC, Scholz U, Mascher M and Stein N (2019) Genebank genomics reveals the diversity of a global barley collection. Nature Genetics 51: 319-326.


Genebanks hold comprehensive collections of cultivars, landraces and crop wild relatives of all major food crops, but their detailed characterization has so far been limited to sparse core sets. The analysis of genome-wide genotyping-by-sequencing data for almost all barley accessions of the German ex situ genebank provides insights into the global population structure of domesticated barley and points out redundancies and coverage gaps in one of the world’s major genebanks. Our large sample size and dense marker data afford great power for genome-wide association scans. We detect known and novel loci underlying morphological traits differentiating barley genepools, find evidence for convergent selection for barbless awns in barley and rice and show that a major-effect resistance locus conferring resistance to bymovirus infection has been favored by traditional farmers. This study outlines future directions for genomics-assisted genebank management and the utilization of germplasm collections for linking natural variation to human selection during crop evolution.