Biotech Updates

Zinc Efficiency Regions in Barley Chromosome

April 18, 2008

Scientists from the University of Western Australia have identified chromosomal regions conferring zinc efficiency in barley. The discovery could have important implications for improving zinc content of cereals. An essential trace element, zinc is vital for physical and mental development, immune system function, vision and fertility. It is a cofactor of more than 300 enzymes in the human body.

More than 150 lines, obtained by crossing a zinc-efficient wild barley from Algeria (Sahara 3771) and an Australian cultivar (Clipper) were screened for seed zinc content. Using 302 molecular markers, two regions in chromosome 2H were identified to be associated with zinc content in barley seed. The quantitative trait loci (QTLs) were found to be responsible for 45 percent and 59 percent of the total variation in seed zinc content. Identifying molecular markers linked to these loci will allow more rapid and efficient screening of barley lines than traditional techniques.

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