Plant Genetic Resources

Research Article

Exploitation of nuclear and cytoplasm variability in Hordeum chilense for wheat breeding

Cristina Rodríguez-Suáreza1, María J. Giméneza1, María C. Ramíreza1, Azahara C. Martína1a2, Natalia Gutierreza2, Carmen M. Ávilaa2, Antonio Martína1 and Sergio G. Atienzaa1 c1

a1 Plant Breeding Department, IAS-CSIC, Apdo. 4084, E-14080, Córdoba, Spain

a2 Área Mejora y Biotecnología, IFAPA-Centro Alameda del Obispo, Córdoba, Spain


Hordeum chilense Roem. et Schultz. is a diploid wild barley native to Chile and Argentina. The high crossability of this species with other members of the Triticeae tribe promoted the development of the new species × Tritordeum Ascherson et Graebner. Hexaploid tritordeum was developed from the hybrid derived from the cross between H. chilense (used as female parent) and durum wheat. The interest of H. chilense is based on the presence of traits potentially useful for wheat breeding, including high endosperm carotenoid content, septoria tritici blotch resistance and abiotic stress tolerance. Besides, the variability at cytoplasm level is also important in this species. The development of common wheat–H. chilense alloplasmic lines (nucleus from wheat and cytoplasm from H. chilense) results in fertile or male sterile genotypes, depending on the accession donating the cytoplasm. Furthermore, these alloplasmic lines constitute an ideal system for deepening our knowledge on nuclear–cytoplasm interactions. In conclusion, H. chilense is an interesting source of variability for wheat breeding.

(Online publication March 16 2011)


c1 Corresponding author. E-mail: