Induced mutations in circadian clock regulator Mat-a facilitated short-season adaptation and range extension in cultivated barley

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Time to flowering has an important impact on yield and has been a key trait in the domestication of crop plants and the spread of agriculture. In 1961, the cultivar Mari (mat-a.8) was the very first induced early barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) mutant to be released into commercial production. Mari extended the range of two-row spring barley cultivation as a result of its photoperiod insensitivity. Since its release, Mari or its derivatives have been used extensively across the world to facilitate short-season adaptation and further geographic range extension. By exploiting an extended historical collection of early-flowering mutants of barley, we identified Praematurum-a (Mat-a), the gene responsible for this key adaptive phenotype, as a homolog of the Arabidopsis thaliana circadian clock regulator Early Flowering 3 (Elf3). We characterized 87 induced mat-a mutant lines and identified >20 different mat-a alleles that had clear mutations leading to a defective putative ELF3 protein. Expression analysis of HvElf3 and Gigantea in mutant and wild-type plants demonstrated that mat-a mutations disturb the flowering pathway, leading to the early phenotype. Alleles of Mat-a therefore have important and demonstrated breeding value in barley but probably also in many other day-length-sensitive crop plants, where they may tune adaptation to different geographic regions and climatic conditions, a critical issue in times of global warming.


  • Shakhira Zakhrabekova
  • S. P. Gough
  • I. Braumann
  • A. H. Muller
  • J. Lundqvist
  • K. Ahmann
  • C. Dockter
  • I. Matyszczak
  • M. Kurowska
  • A. Druka
  • R. Waugh
  • A. Graner
  • N. Stein
  • B. Steuernagel
  • U. Lundqvist
  • Mats Hansson
Externa organisationer
  • Carlsberg Research Center / Carlsberg Laboratory

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ) – OBLIGATORISK

  • Biokemi och molekylärbiologi


Sidor (från-till)4326-4331
TidskriftProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
StatusPublished - 2012
Peer review utfördJa
Externt publiceradJa