Natural Variation in Grain Selenium Concentration of Wild Barley, Hordeum spontaneum, Populations from Israel

Jun Yan, Fang Wang, Haibo Qin, Guoxiong Chen, Nevo Eviatar, Tzion Fahima, Jianping Cheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Wild barley (Hordeum spontaneum), the progenitor of cultivated barley, is an important genetic resource for cereal improvement. Selenium (Se) is an essential trace mineral for humans and animals with antioxidant, anticancer, antiarthropathy, and antiviral effects. In the current study, the grain Se concentration (GSeC) of 92 H. spontaneum genotypes collected from nine populations representing different habitats in Israel was investigated in the central area of Guizhou Province, China. Remarkable variations in GSeC were found between and within populations, ranging from 0 to 0.387 mg kg-1 among the 92 genotypes with an average of 0.047 mg kg-1. Genotype 20-C from the Sede Boqer population had the highest GSeC, while genotype 25-1 from the Atlit population had the lowest. The mean value of GSeC in each population varied from 0.010 to 0.105 mg kg-1. The coefficient of variation for each population ranged from 12% to 163%. Significant correlations were found between GSeC and 12 ecogeographical factors out of 14 studied. Habitat soil type also significantly affected GSeC. The wild barley exhibited wider GSeC ranges and greater diversity than its cultivated counterparts. The higher Se grain concentrations found in H. spontaneum populations suggest that wild barley germplasm confer higher abilities for Se uptake and accumulation, which can be used for genetic studies of barley nutritional value and for further improvement of domesticated cereals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)773-786
Number of pages14
JournalBiological Trace Element Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements This study was funded by the Training Program Foundation for the Youth Talents in Science and Technology by Guizhou Province in China (2007-2010). The authors are greatly indebted to Lingling Zhang, Zhouyun Pan, Xiuwen Wei, Mingliang Hu, Junbo Gou, Changmin Xu, Yunchang Wang, and Bin Wan at Guizhou University in China for their excellent help in fieldwork. The authors also wish to express their thanks to the State Key Laboratory of Environmental Geochemistry, Institute of Geochemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences and Hangzhou National Barley Improvement Center, China. E. N. thanks the Ancell-Teicher Research Foundation for Genetics and Molecular Evolution for financial support.


  • Ecogeographical factors
  • Grain selenium concentration
  • Hordeum spontaneum
  • Israel
  • Wild barley

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, medical
  • Biochemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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