Regulation of germination by targeted mutagenesis of grain dormancy genes in barley

Hiroshi Hisano, Robert E. Hoffie, Fumitaka Abe, Hiromi Munemori, Takakazu Matsuura, Masaki Endo, Masafumi Mikami, Shingo Nakamura, Jochen Kumlehn, Kazuhiro Sato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


High humidity during harvest season often causes pre-harvest sprouting in barley (Hordeum vulgare). Prolonged grain dormancy prevents pre-harvest sprouting; however, extended dormancy can interfere with malt production and uniform germination upon sowing. In this study, we used Cas9-induced targeted mutagenesis to create single and double mutants in QTL FOR SEED DORMANCY 1 (Qsd1) and Qsd2 in the same genetic background. We performed germination assays in independent qsd1 and qsd2 single mutants, as well as in two double mutants, which revealed a strong repression of germination in the mutants. These results demonstrated that normal early grain germination requires both Qsd1 and Qsd2 function. However, germination of qsd1 was promoted by treatment with 3% hydrogen peroxide, supporting the notion that the mutants exhibit delayed germination. Likewise, exposure to cold temperatures largely alleviated the block of germination in the single and double mutants. Notably, qsd1 mutants partially suppress the long dormancy phenotype of qsd2, while qsd2 mutant grains failed to germinate in the light, but not in the dark. Consistent with the delay in germination, abscisic acid accumulated in all mutants relative to the wild type, but abscisic acid levels cannot maintain long-term dormancy and only delay germination. Elucidation of mutant allele interactions, such as those shown in this study, are important for fine-tuning traits that will lead to the design of grain dormancy through combinations of mutant alleles. Thus, these mutants will provide the necessary germplasm to study grain dormancy and germination in barley.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPlant Biotechnology Journal
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021


  • Cas9 nuclease
  • Hordeum vulgare
  • pre-harvest sprouting
  • seed dormancy
  • targeted genome modification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Plant Science


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