A gene that controls the waterlogging tolerance of barley has been identified through research conducted by the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA).
The gene could be the key to producing a new type of barley that can withstand the harsh conditions of a Tasmanian winter.
Professor Zhou said farmers and plant breeders had consistently asked for waterlogging tolerance genes to be incorporated into the current commercial varieties, as wet conditions can have a huge impact on crops.
The next step in the research will be to determine how the gene can be introduced into commercial varieties of barley through backcrossing and marker-assisted selection, as opposed to genetic modification.
TIA’s research could deliver a new line of barley to farmers with the same background of selected varieties, but with added waterlogging tolerance genes.
The research project has been funded by a linkage project, with funds from the Grains, Research and Development Corporation (GRDC), the Australian Research Council (ARC) and the state Department of Primary Industries, Water and Environment (DPIPWE).