BRENDON CANT brendon at iinet.net.au
Wed Apr 16 05:43:45 CEST 2008

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Chromosomal regions conferring zinc efficiency in barley, recently
identified by three WA researchers, could have important implications for
improving the zinc status of the human diet.


Behzad Sadeghzadeh, PhD student and Professor Zed Rengel, both of the School
of Earth and Geographical Sciences, Faculty of Natural and Agricultural
Sciences (FNAS) at The University of Western Australia (UWA), worked with Dr
Chengdao Li from the Department of Agriculture and Food WA (DAFWA) on the


Professor Rengel said the discovery of genetic markers contributing to
improved barley productivity and nutritional quality in zinc-deficient
environments is promising because as an essential trace element for humans,
zinc has a crucial role in more than 300 enzymes in the human body.

According to Professor Rengel, zinc is vital for physical and mental
development, fertility, vision and resistance to infections, yet many of the
world’s soils and therefore foods are zinc-deficient.

“Zinc deficiency is a problem in many developing countries and is the fifth
leading cause of diseases, especially diarrhoea and pneumonia in children.”


Mr Sadeghzadeh, whose PhD is supported by the Government of Iran, discovered
that some barleys grow and yield well, even in zinc-deficient soils, because
they are zinc efficient and have zinc-dense seed.

A doubled-haploid population of 150 barley lines derived from a cross
between a zinc-inefficient Australian cultivar, ‘Clipper’ and a
zinc-efficient Algerian wild barley, ‘Sahara 3771’, were screened for seed
zinc content under field conditions at UWA’s Shenton Park Field Research


Comprehensive molecular mapping of doubled-haploid populations, using 302
markers, enabled Mr Sadeghzadeh to identify quantitative trait loci for zinc
accumulation in barley seed.


“Two regions on chromosome 2H in barley associated with zinc concentration
and content in seed could explain 45 per cent and 59 per cent of the total
variation in the seed zinc concentration and content, respectively,” he


“Identifying molecular markers linked to genetic loci controlling seed zinc
will allow more rapid and efficient screening of barley lines than
traditional techniques.


“By selecting lines with zinc-dense seed, barley breeders will be able to
produce cultivars that yield better in zinc-deficient soils and also
contribute required amounts of zinc to the human diet,” Mr Sadeghzadeh said.

HYPERLINK "http://www.fnas.uwa.edu.au/"www.ioa.uwa.edu.au

Authorised by ‘Institute of Agriculture – UWA’ and issued on its behalf by

Brendon Cant & Associates, Tel 08 9384 1122


Professor Kadambot Siddique, Tel 08 6488 7012, Mobile 0411 155 396

Professor Zed Rengel, Tel 08 6488 2557, Email Zed.Rengel at uwa.edu.au



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