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Germplasm center
BARLEY

Barley

Barley is the fourth major cereal crop in the world. About 10,000 years ago it was domesticated from a wild ancestor in the Fertile Crescent and now it is grown throughout the world excepting the tropics because of its wide adaptability to the salt, drought, low temperature etc. The barley varieties show a large variation in morphological, ecological and agricultural traits such as plant type, ear type, growth habit, maturity, plant height, grain size, disease resistance etc. About 3,000 years ago barley was introduced to Japan from the continent, and it used to be an important food crop. Barley was cooked with rice when the rice production was limited, and sometimes we eat barley in this way still now. At present, barley is used mainly as feed of livestocks, malts for brewing beer and whisky, miso and Mugicha-tea.

History of Barley Germplasm Center

Barley collection started in early 1940's by Dr. Ryuhei Takahashi for the crop evolution and domestication study. The collection expanded according to the detailed study of traits related to evolution and breeding. In 1979 the Ministry of Education, Science, Sports and Culture established the Barley Germplasm Center at the Institute for Agricultural and Biological Sciences (renamed as Research Institute for Bioresources in 1989, Institute of Plant Science and Resources in 2010), Okayama University located at Kurashiki. Currently, Barley Germplasm Center is one of the main international barley genebanks and supported by National Bioresource Project (http://www.nbrp.jp/) for the preservation and distribution.
Functions of Barley Germplasm Center The functions of the Center are to (1) collect or develop materials (2) preserve materials (3) evaluate and genetically analyze the materials, (4) construct databases and (5) distribute seed samples upon request.
Collection We have preserved ca. 14,000 accessions of cultivated barley including experimental lines and ca. 600 accessions of wild relatives.
Preservation Barley is usually sown in November and harvested until early June in Kurashiki where the climate is mild in winter but has rainy season from June. Each accession is checked the recorded marker traits i.e. plant type, hairiness of leaf sheath, heading time, ear type, awn length, hull type. Then barley spikes are harvested, dried and threshed very carefully to prevent the contamination. After fumigated with chemical insecticide the seeds are stored in storage room at 15℃ (short and middle term) or -30℃ (long term) under dry condition.
Evaluation

Germplasm center