Genetic association with high‐resolution climate data reveals selection footprints in the genomes of barley landraces across the Iberian Peninsula

Contreras-Moreira B, Serrano-Notivoli R, Mohamed NE, Cantalapiedra CP, Beguería S, Casas AM, Igartua E (2019) Genetic association with high-resolution climate data reveals selection footprints in genomes of barley landraces across the Iberian Peninsula. Molecular Ecology, doi:10.1111/mec.15009.

Landraces are local populations of crop plants adapted to a particular environment. Extant landraces are surviving genetic archives, keeping signatures of the selection processes experienced by them until settling in their current niches. This study intends to establish relationships between genetic diversity of barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) landraces collected in Spain and the climate of their collection sites. A high‐resolution climatic dataset (5x5 km spatial, 1‐day temporal grid) was computed from over 2,000 temperature and 7,000 precipitation stations across peninsular Spain. This dataset, spanning the period 1981‐2010, was used to derive agroclimatic variables meaningful for cereal production at the collection sites of 135 barley landraces. Variables summarize temperature, precipitation, evapotranspiration, potential vernalization and frost probability at different times of the year and time scales (season and month). SNP genotyping of the landraces was carried out combining Illumina Infinium assays and genotyping‐by‐sequencing, yielding 9,920 biallelic markers (7,479 with position on the barley reference genome). The association of these SNPs with agroclimatic variables was analysed at two levels of genetic diversity, with and without taking into account population structure. The whole datasets and analysis pipelines are documented and available at We found differential adaptation of the germplasm groups identified to be dominated by reactions to cold temperature and late‐season frost occurrence, as well as to water availability. Several significant associations pointing at specific adaptations to agroclimatic features related to temperature and water availability were observed, and candidate genes underlying some of the main regions are proposed.