Progress in the Spanish National Barley Breeding Program

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Gracia Gimeno, Ma. Pilar
Mansour Elsayed, Elsayed
Casas Cendoya, Ana Maria
Lasa Dolhagaray, José Manuel
Medina Abad, Blanca
Molina Cano, José Luis
Moralejo Vidal, Mª AngelesMoralejo Vidal, Mª Angeles - ORCID ID
López, Alberto
López Fuster, Prudencio
Escribano, J.
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The Spanish Barley Breeding Program is carried out by four public research organizations, located at the most representative barley growing regions of Spain. The aim of this study is to evaluate the program retrospectively, attending to: i) the progress achieved in grain yield, and ii) the extent and impact of genotype-by-environment interaction of grain yield. Grain yields and flowering dates of 349 advanced lines in generations F8, F9 and F10, plus checks, tested at 163 trials over 11 years were analized. The locations are in the provinces of Albacete, Lleida, Valladolid and Zaragoza. The data are highly unbalanced because the lines stayed at the program for a maximum of three years. Progress was estimated using relative grain yield and mixed models (REML) to homogenize the results among years and locations. There was evident progress in the program over the period studied, with increasing relative yields in each generation, and with advanced lines surpassing the checks in the last two generations, although the rate of progress was uneven across locations. The genetic gain was greater from F8 to F9 than from F9 to F10. The largest non-purely environmental component of variance was genotype-by-location-by-year, meaning that the genotype-by-location pattern was highly unpredictable. The relationship between yield and flowering time overall was weak in the locations under study at this advanced stage of the program. The program can be continued with the same structure, although measures should be taken to explore the causes of slower progress at certain locations.
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Spanish Journal of Agricultural Research, 2012, vol. 10, núm. 3, p. 741-751