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WP3

WP3

WP3 Analyses of responses to high temperature during vulnerable stages of reproductive development (Leaders: Ivan Acosta, MPIPZ; Raffaella Battaglia, CREA-GB; other operational units: UdL; USIB).

WP3 will apply morphological, physiological, histological and functional analyses in a selected panel of barley genotypes to understand the effects of and the plant responses to heat waves during inflorescence development. Specifically, WP3 will:
  1. Evaluate the range of effects caused by heat waves on barley. An exploratory approach will examine in controlled conditions the fertility of 50 barley landraces sampled in extreme Mediterranean environments and/or previously analyzed in connected projects. The results of this work will identify genotypes that are tolerant or intolerant to heat waves. Based on existing hypotheses, pleoiotropy of PpdH1 and HvVrn1 alleles on heat tolerance during inflorescence development will be assessed under field conditions using near-isogenic lines.
  2. Conduct a detailed morphological and histological analysis of spikelet and flower development under heat waves in a subset of tolerant and intolerant genotypes. The goal is to determine what particular developmental processes are affected by heat stress and how tolerant accessions cope with it.
  3.  Analyze the expression profile of reproductive structures under heat stress in tolerant and intolerant barley genotypes at relevant stages of development. This will identify key factors that confer genetic plasticity and influence plant fitness under heat stress. The role of the identified factors in conferring heat tolerance will be validated in the large barley collection established in WP1. Allele mining for the candidate factors is expected to allow the identification of those alleles that are exploitable in breeding programs. Additionally, WP3 will evaluate the fertility under heat waves of the landraces selected for whole genome sequencing in WP2, to conduct a GWAS and identify large effect QTLs underlying heat tolerance in reproductive structures.