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Use of genetic markers for the detection of off-types for DUS phenotypic traits in the inbreeding crop, barley

Saccomanno, B., Wallace, M., O'Sullivan, D. M. ORCID: and Cockram, J. (2020) Use of genetic markers for the detection of off-types for DUS phenotypic traits in the inbreeding crop, barley. Molecular Breeding, 40 (1). ISSN 1380-3743

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1007/s11032-019-1088-y


Detection of crop off-types is of interest for multiple uses, including the assessment of uniformity for new plant variety applications during distinctness, uniformity and stability (DUS) testing for the awarding of plant breeders’ rights (PBR). Here, we investigate whether genetic markers, in this case Kompetitive Allele-Specific PCR (KASP), can be used for the identification off-types for phenotypes assessed for DUS in the inbreeding cereal crop, barley (Hordeum vulgare). To demonstrate proof of principle, KASP markers diagnostic for phenotypic expression of nine DUS phenotypes, and DNA from two barley varieties (‘Pelican’ and ‘Felicie’) carrying contrasting alleles at each marker were used. We found that for the majority of markers, it was possible to robustly call alleles down to template DNA concentrations of 2 ng, but not ≤ 0.2 ng. When used in mixtures of DNA consisting of ‘Felicie’ DNA spiked with different concentrations of ‘Pelican’ DNA, robust allele calling was possible in DNA mixtures down to 18 ng:2 ng. Collectively, this demonstrates that where diagnostic markers are available, molecular identification of a single off-type for a given DUS trait within a bulk of ten individuals should be possible. We validated this assumption, with all of the diagnostic genetic markers investigated found to robustly detect DUS off-types at a frequency of 10% in DNA extracted from tissue collected from pools of 10 individuals. Ultimately, this work demonstrates that, where diagnostic polymorphisms are known for DUS traits, KASP markers should be able to robustly detect off-types or cross-contamination within DNA samples from a diploid inbred species down to 10%. While just two varieties that contrasted for the eight DUS targeted were investigated in this study, as the markers used are diagnostic for their relevant phenotype (or a proportion of the variation observed for that phenotype), in theory the approach should be valid for any variety studied— although the introduction of novel alleles via spontaneous mutation or more exotic germplasm pools may mean that marker sets would need to be periodically added to or updated. However, we nevertheless demonstrate the principle that, for a subset of DUS traits, molecular markers can now be robustly used as a tool towards determining all three components of the DUS testing process in barley. These results are relevant for the assessment of varietal uniformity by crop breeders, crop testing authorities and germplasm maintenance, as well as highlighting the potential use of bulk samples rather than individual plant samples for assessment of distinctness by molecular methods.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development > Department of Crop Science
ID Code:88466


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