In Europe, the most economically significant use of barley is the production of malt for use in the brewing and distilling industries. As such, selection for traits related to malting quality is of great commercial interest. In order to study the genetic basis of variation for malting quality traits in UK cultivars, a historical set of trial data was collated from national and recommended list trials from the period 1988 to 2016. This data was used to estimate variety means for 20 quality related traits in 451 spring barley cultivars, and 407 winter cultivars. Genotypes for these cultivars were generated using iSelect 9k and 50k genotyping platforms, and a genome wide association scan performed to identify malting quality quantitative trait loci (QTL). 24 QTL were identified in spring barley cultivars, and 2 from the winter set. A number of these correspond to known malting quality related genes but the remainder represents novel genetic variation that is accessible to breeders for the genetic improvement of new cultivars.
Significant correlations for BLUPs for malting quality traits examined in the current study in a spring cultivars, and b winter varieties. The shade corresponds to the magnitude of the correlation coefficient, with negative correlation coefficients being indicated by diagonal hatching. Where phenotypic data is not present for a pair of traits, this is indicated by a blank square.