DNA Microarray as Part of a Genomic-Assisted Breeding Approach

  • Eva VinczeEmail author
  • Steve Bowra


In the struggle to achieve global food security, crop breeding retains an important role in crop production. A current trend is the diversification of the aims of crop production, to include an increased awareness of aspects and consequences of food quality. The added emphasis on food and feed quality made crop breeding more challenging and required a combination of new tools. We illustrate these concepts by taking examples from barley, one of the most ancient of domesticated grains with a diverse profile of utilisation (feed, brewing, new nutritional uses). Genomic-assisted breeding (GAB) is the ‘umbrella’ term used to describe a suite of tools now being applied to plant breeding. In the context of genomic-assisted breeding, we will briefly discuss in the second section of this chapter the molecular genetic-based tools underpinning GAB (understanding gene expression, candidate gene selection, allelic complement, quantitative trait loci [QTLs] and fine mapping). The subject of the third section is the use of DNA microarray as a potentially important tool in crop improvement. This section includes a discussion about what can we expect using the DNA microarray technology and what could be major considerations when the technique is applied. We consider the use of cDNA vs. oligonucleotide microarrays, target purification, labelling, hybridisation, image acquisition, minimising random errors, experimental design, biological and technical variability, quality control, normalisation, statistical and practical significances, fold changes, validation and possible additional regulatory mechanisms in gene expression. The subject of the fourth section is the applications of DNA microarrays to study of global gene expression during grain filling in monocot crops, especially barley. We compare large arrays vs. tissue/pathway specific approaches using an example of focused microarray and how it follows predicted changes during grain development. We describe of an extension of the study to field grown material and conclude that such an approach is able to interpret differences in the gene expression profiles of barley storage protein homologues. Therefore, microarray analysis could provide the knowledge required designing an improved amino acid profile with the possibility of breeding selectively for specific alleles/homologues to confer enhanced amino acid profile of the barley storage proteins and we outline the potential of microarray as a tool to support genomic-assisted breeding approach to improve the nutritional quality of barley.


Quantitative Trait Locus Storage Protein Functional Marker Succinic Anhydride Massive Parallel Signature Sequencing 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Genetics and BiotechnologyFaculty of Agricultural Sciences, Aarhus University, Research Centre FlakkebjergSlagelseDenmark

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