Exome sequencing of geographically diverse barley landraces and wild relatives gives insights into environmental adaptation

Joanne Russell, Martin Mascher, Ian K Dawson, Stylianos Kyriakidis, Cristiane Calixto, Fabian Freund, Micha Bayer, Iain Milne, Tony Marshall-Griffiths, Shane Heinen, Anna Hofstad, Rajiv Sharma, Axel Himmelbach, Manuela Knauft, Maarten van Zonneveld, John W S Brown, Karl Schmid, Benjamin Kilian, Gary J Muehlbauer, Nils SteinRobbie Waugh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

191 Citations (Scopus)


After domestication, during a process of widespread range extension, barley adapted to a broad spectrum of agricultural environments. To explore how the barley genome responded to the environmental challenges it encountered, we sequenced the exomes of a collection of 267 georeferenced landraces and wild accessions. A combination of genome-wide analyses showed that patterns of variation have been strongly shaped by geography and that variant-by-environment associations for individual genes are prominent in our data set. We observed significant correlations of days to heading (flowering) and height with seasonal temperature and dryness variables in common garden experiments, suggesting that these traits were major drivers of environmental adaptation in the sampled germplasm. A detailed analysis of known flowering-associated genes showed that many contain extensive sequence variation and that patterns of single- and multiple-gene haplotypes exhibit strong geographical structuring. This variation appears to have substantially contributed to range-wide ecogeographical adaptation, but many factors key to regional success remain unidentified.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1024-1030
Number of pages7
JournalNature Genetics
Issue number9
Early online date18 Jul 2016
Publication statusPrint publication - 1 Sept 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Adaptation
  • Environment
  • Exome
  • Plant genetics
  • Genetic variation
  • Genotype
  • Geography
  • Hordeum
  • Phenotype


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