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Morphological and genetic characterization of barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) landraces in the Canary Islands

Hagenblad, Jenny, Leino, Matti W., Hernández Afonso, Guacimara, Afonso Morales, Desirée
Genetic resources and crop evolution 2019 v.66 no.2 pp. 465-480
Hordeum vulgare, barley, gene banks, genetic variation, geographical distribution, islands, landraces, market value, marketing, Canary Islands
Barley has been continuously cultivated in the Canary archipelago for millennia, and to this day landrace barley is the preferred choice for cultivation. We have morphologically and genetically characterized 57 landraces collected during the twenty-first century and conserved in genebanks. The majority of accessions were of the six-row type. Although landraces from the same island tended to be similar, the results showed morphological and genetic diversity both within and in the case of genetic data among islands. Accessions from the easternmost islands were genetically distinct from those from the central and western islands. Accessions from the western islands often had a mixed genetical composition, suggesting more recent exchange of plant material with the central islands. The geographic distribution of diversity suggests that conservation of barley genetic resources needs to consider all islands in the archipelago. Landrace barley from the Canary archipelago was found to be morphologically distinct from continental landrace barley. We suggest the uniqueness of Canarian barley, in terms of morphology and genetic diversity, can be used for marketing purposes providing added market value to the crop.