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Functional association between malting quality trait component and cDNA array based expression patterns in barley (Hordeum vulgare L.)

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Author: Potokina, E. · Caspers, M. · Prasad, M. · Kota, R. · Zhang, H. · Sreenivasulu, N. · Wang, M. · Graner, A.
Institution: TNO Preventie en Gezondheid Centraal Instituut voor Voedingsonderzoek TNO
Source:Molecular Breeding, 14, 153-170
Identifier: 43039
doi: doi10.1023/B:MOLB.0000038004.21342.3c
Keywords: Biology Health · Biomedical Research · Candidate gene identification · EST · Functional genomics · Gene expression · QTL mapping · Embryophyta · Eukaryota · Hordeum · Hordeum vulgare · Hordeum vulgare subsp. vulgare


We developed an approach for relating differences in gene expression to the phenotypic variation of a trait of interest. This allows the identification of candidate genes for traits that display quantitative variation. To validate the principle, gene expression was monitored on a cDNA array with 1400 ESTs to identify genes involved in the variation of the complex trait 'malting quality' in barley. RNA profiles were monitored during grain germination in a set of 10 barley genotypes that had been characterized for 6 quality-associated trait components. The selection of the candidate genes was achieved via a correlation of dissimilarity matrices that were based on (i) trait variation and (ii) gene expression data. As expected, a comparison based on the complete set of differentially-expressed genes did not reveal any correlation between the matrices, because not all genes that show differential expression between the 10 cultivars are responsible for the observed differences in malting quality. However, by iteratively taking out one gene (with replacement) and re-computing the correlation, those genes that are positively contributing to the correlation could be identified. Using this procedure between 17 and 30 candidate genes were identified for each of the six malting parameters analysed. In addition to genes of unknown function, the list of candidates contains well-known malting-related genes. Five out of eight mapped candidate genes display linkage to known QTLs for malting quality traits. The described functional association strategy may provide an efficient link between functional genomics and plant breeding.