EARLY FLOWERING 3 as a determinant of crop performance traits in barley
Tanja Zahn, Klaus Pillen
Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Institute of Agricultural and Nutritional Sciences
Crop performance relies on the integration of environmental stimuli resulting in fine-tuning of plant growth and development. The regulation of flowering time serves as a showcase of modern translational research of such environmentally induced responses. Here, knowhow generated in the model plant Arabidopsis has been applied successfully to major staple crops like barley. Results of this research are currently being integrated into breeding programs. In other cases, for example plant responses to elevated temperature, knowhow generated in the model plant still needs to be transferred to crop systems. In this project, we aim to follow such an approach for the barley homologue of EARLY FLOWERING 3 (ELF3), a major regulator of crop performance, which has previously been shown to control both flowering time and temperature responses. By exploiting state-of-the-art genetic material, which has been generated for exactly these purposes, the central questions to be addressed are: 1. Is ELF3 underlying a QTL for growth and flowering time identified in a barley NAM population? 2. Can we correlate genetic variation for ELF3 in the barley gene pool with temperature-dependent growth?