The University of Milan together with CREA and PTP Science Park participated in a study published in “The Plant Journal” to identify the mechanisms that allow barley to be cultivated in every agricultural area of the world. A fundamental step to select varieties suitable for future climate changes and to guarantee future food requirements.
Milan, 27 June 2019 – Barley is the only crop that can grow in Iceland or Lapland, north of the Arctic circle, or in open field in Tibet over 4,000 meters above sea level, while being the last crop before the desert in the middle-east region, in areas with rainfall of less than 250mm per year.
A better understanding of the diffusion of this species comes from the study “Exome sequences and multi-environment field trials elucidate the genetic basis of adaptation in barley” by the European consortium WHEALBI – WHEAT and barley Legacy for Breeding Improvement, with the Italian contribution of the University of Milan, CREA – Council for Agricultural Research and Analysis of the Agricultural Economics, and PTP Science Park, published today in The Plant Journal.
By integrating data from an international field network and those deriving from the partial genome sequence of about 400 varieties from more than 70 countries, researchers identified dozens of genes that control the mechanisms by which the barley plant “reads” the environmental conditions and adapts its life cycle to different environments.
Barley is a very widespread crop in Europe, throughout the Mediterranean area and in Italy, where it is used both for animal feed and for beer production. “The WHEALBI variety collection and the related genomic data represent a unique resource for future research on plant responses to stress” – comments Laura Rossini of the Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences of the Milan State University, who coordinated the sequencing work in collaboration with PTP. “For example, they can be used to study resistance to diseases or reduced water availability, so as to apply this knowledge to obtain improved varieties.”
Contact: Prof. Laura Rossini, email@example.com