Heritage genetics for adaptation to marginal soils in barley

Elsevier, Trends in Plant Science, Volume 28, May 2023
Schmidt S.B., Brown L.K., Booth A., Wishart J., Hedley P.E., Martin P. et al.

Future crops need to be sustainable in the face of climate change. Modern barley varieties have been bred for high productivity and quality; however, they have suffered considerable genetic erosion, losing crucial genetic diversity. This renders modern cultivars vulnerable to climate change and stressful environments. We highlight the potential to tailor crops to a specific environment by utilising diversity inherent in an adapted landrace population. Tapping into natural biodiversity, while incorporating information about local environmental and climatic conditions, allows targeting of key traits and genotypes, enabling crop production in marginal soils. We outline future directions for the utilisation of genetic resources maintained in landrace collections to support sustainable agriculture through germplasm development via the use of genomics technologies and big data.