The genetic basis of phenotypic plasticity of relative growth rate (RGR), its components and associated morphological traits was studied in relation to nutrient limitation. In all, 140 F-3 lines from a cross, made between two Hordeum spontaneum ( wild barley) accessions sampled in Israel, were subjected to growth analysis under two nutrient levels. Quantitative trait loci (QTLs) were detected for RGR and three of its components, leaf area ratio (LAR), specific leaf area and leaf mass fraction (LMF). Indications for close linkage ( potential pleiotropy) were found, for example, for LAR and LMF. An interesting case is on chromosome 6, at which QTLs for RGR and seed mass were detected in the same region. These QTLs had opposite additive effects, supporting earlier results that plants growing from lighter seeds had a higher RGR. Only two QTLs were significant under both nutrient conditions, suggesting large QTL x environment interactions for most traits. For 21 out of 26 QTLs, however, the additive genetic effect was of identical sign in both nutrient environments, but reached the significance threshold in only one of them. Nevertheless, some QTLs detected in one of the two environments had virtually no effect in the other, and QTLs for plasticity were detected for RGR, LAR and LMF, as well as for some morphological traits. QTLs with opposite effects under high and low nutrients were not found. Thus, at the genetic level, there was no evidence for a trade-off between faster growth at high versus low nutrient levels.
- fragment length polymorphisms
- mendelian factors
- agronomic traits
- qtl analysis
- linkage map