Malting barley genes:

Genes influencing low grain-protein content in barley have been identified in research at the Victorian Institute for Dryland Agriculture, Horsham. Barley breeder David Moody said the breakthrough was important to ultimately producing lower proteincontent varieties suited to lower-rainfall environments. There, growers tind it difficult to produce grain at sufficiently low protein levels to make the higher priced malting grade. Mr Moody said fhe low protein genes had been identified in the VIDA-bred Arapiles variety and in Karl, a six-row barley from the US.

"Evaluation trials have been conducted in Australia and the US to identify hreeding lines combining the low protein genes from both parents," he said. "Results demonstrate substantial reductions in grain-protein concentration can be achieved. Furthermore, the project has provided molecular markers allowing for selection of the specific genes influencing grain protein concentration.

" He said, with fast-tracking plant breeding processes, it might be possible to have a low protein variety available in five to six years. The research has been supported by growers and the Federal Government through fhe GRDC.

Program 1 Contact: Mr David Moody 0353622111