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Phenotypic diversity of barley (Hordeum vulgare L. subsp. vulgare) landraces from the Center and the South of Tunisia and identification of potential area of on-farm conservation

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1University of Carthage, National Agronomic Institute of Tunisia, Department of Agronomy and Plant Biotechnology, Genetics and Cereal Breeding Laboratory, 43 Charles Nicolle Street, 1082 - Tunis Mahragene, Tunisia.

2National Gene Bank, Leader Yasser Arafat Boulevard, 1080 - Charguia 1, Tunisia.


Abstract-Landraces represent a crucial reservoir of biodiversity and source of novel gene alleles for breeding programs and for sustainable agriculture towards climate change. In this context, a morphological characterization of 882 barley accessions collected from the Center (Mahdia) and the South (Gabes) of Tunisia was conducted using 24 qualitative and 3 quantitative traits related to the spike and grain characteristics. The phenotypic diversity was determined by the Shannon-Weaver diversity Index (H')and revealed that spike length (H′ = 0.83), aleurone color (H′ = 0.73) and intensity of the anthocyanin coloration of awn tips (H′ = 0.71) werethe most polymorphic traits. The genetic diversity within populations (HS= 0.25) represented the major proportion of the total genetic diversity (HT= 0.28). Data showed considerable gene flow (Nm = 4.17) and low genetic differentiation (GST = 0.11). This suggests that Tunisian barley landraces are closely related but have an intra-population variability.Regarding the surveyed areas, Mahdia showed a slightly higher phenotypic diversity compared to Gabes. In particular, the locality of Menzel Habib showing the highest polymorphismwas proposed as suitable place for the in situ/on-farm conservation of local germplasm. The factorial correspondence analysis showed that morphological markers play a relevant role in discriminating accessions than geographic regions. Row type, spike shape and density, rachilla hair type, and grain and aleurone color were the discriminatorytraitsofTunisian barley landraces.


Keywords: Barley,in situ conservation,landraces, morphological traits, Shannon-Weaver diversity index (H′)



This article is published under license to Journal of New Sciences. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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