Geographical and environmental determinants of the genetic structure of wild barley in southeastern Anatolia

POURNOSRAT R., KAYA S., Shaaf S., Kilian B., ÖZKAN H.

PLOS ONE, vol.13, no.2, 2018 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 13 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2018
  • Doi Number: 10.1371/journal.pone.0192386
  • Title of Journal : PLOS ONE


Despite the global value of barley, compared to its wild progenitor, genetic variation in this crop has been drastically reduced due to the process of domestication, selection and improvement. In the medium term, this will negatively impact both the vulnerability and yield stability of barley against biotic and abiotic stresses under climate change. Returning to the crop wild relatives (CWR) as sources of new and beneficial alleles is a clear option for enhancing the resilience of diversity and adaptation to climate change. Southeastern Anatolia constitutes an important part of the natural distribution of wild barley in the Fertile Crescent where important crops were initially domesticated. In this study, we investigated genetic diversity in a comprehensive collection of 281 geo-referenced wild barley individuals from 92 collection sites with sample sizes ranging from 1 to 9 individuals per site, collected from southeastern Anatolia and 131 domesticated genotypes from 49 different countries using 40 EST-SSR markers. A total of 375 alleles were detected across entire collection, of which 283 were carried by domesticated genotypes and 316 alleles were present in the wild gene pool. The number of unique alleles in the wild and in the domesticated gene pool was 92 and 59, respectively. The population structure at K = 3 suggested two groups of wild barley namely G1-W consisting wild barley genotypes from the western part and G1-E comprising those mostly from the eastern part of the study area, with a sharp separation from the domesticated gene pool. The geographic and climatic factors jointly showed significant effects on the distribution of wild barley. Using a Latent Factor Mixed Model, we identified four candidate loci potentially involved in adaptation of wild barley to three environmental factors: temperature seasonality, mean temperature of driest quarter, and precipitation of coldest quarter. These loci are probably the targets of genomic regions, with potential roles against abiotic stresses.