Bere Barley Genotyping
Bere barley (Hordeum vulgare) is a traditional Scottish barley landrace that is still grown using a traditional system by growers mainly in the islands. It is probably the oldest cereal ‘variety’ grown commercially in Europe and possibly the world. Bere barley has adapted to enable it to grow in the poorer acidic soils found on in Northern Scotland and there is renewed interest in its use in breeding programs.
Bere barley samples from the Scottish islands were collected and analysed using 29 microsatellite markers.
Scottish islands where Bere barley samples were collected
Tree showing molecular relationships amongst Bere barley samples from the islands
Significant genetic variance was observed between the 3 island groups, possibly explainable by their geographical isolation.
No accounts of seed exchange between island groups, only within island groups which would support the suggestion of isolated populations.
The oral and genetic data suggests that the bere barley from each island group has been separated for some time.
Western Isles demonstrated the highest level of genetic diversity of the 3 island groups (also the most diverse ecological environment).