Stephanie Saade, Burcu Kutlu, Vera Draba, Karin Förster, Erika Schumann, Mark Tester, Klaus Pillen, Andreas Maurer. A donor-specific QTL, exhibiting allelic variation for leaf sheath hairiness in a nested association mapping population, is located on barley chromosome 4H. PLOS One. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0189446
Leaf sheath hairiness is a morphological trait associated with various advantages, including tolerance to both abiotic and biotic stresses, thereby increasing yield. Understanding the genetic basis of this trait in barley can therefore improve the agronomic performance of this economically important crop. We scored leaf sheath hairiness in a two-year field trial in 1,420 BC1S3 lines from the wild barley nested association mapping (NAM) population HEB-25. Leaf sheath hairiness segregated in six out of 25 families with the reference parent Barke being glabrous. We detected the major hairy leaf sheath locus Hs (syn. Hsh) on chromosome 4H (111.3 cM) with high precision. The effects of the locus varied across the six different wild barley donors, with donor of HEB family 11 conferring the highest score of leaf sheath hairiness. Due to the high mapping resolution present in HEB-25, we were able to discuss physically linked pentatricopeptide repeat genes and subtilisin-like proteases as potential candidate genes underlying this locus. In this study, we proved that HEB-25 provides an appropriate tool to further understand the genetic control of leaf sheath hairiness in barley. Furthermore, our work represents a perfect starting position to clone the gene responsible for the 4H locus observed.