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An F2 Barley Population as a Tool for Teaching Mendelian Genetics
1 , 1 , 1 , 2 , 1 , 1 , * 1
1  Department of Biotechnology-Plant Biology, School of Agricultural, Food and Biosystems Engineering, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, 28040 Madrid
2  Division of Medicine. University College London, London, United Kingdom


Plant genetics is more quantitative and analytical than other areas of plant biology. The mathematical descriptions of Mendelian inheritance and population genetics are sometimes discouraging, and students often have serious misconceptions. Innovative strategies in expositive classes can clearly encourage student’s motivation and participation, but laboratories and practical classes are generally the students‘ most favorite academic activities. Genetic practices are usually employed with the aim to teach experimental methods (as PCR, DNA extraction,…). However, the design of lab practices focused on the learning of abstract concepts such as genetic interaction, quantitative inheritance, genetic linkage, genetic recombination, gene mapping, or molecular markers, is a complex task that requires a suitable segregant plant material. The most optimal population for pedagogical purposes is an F2 population, which results in extremely useful not only to explain different key concepts of genetics (as dominance, epistasis, and linkage) but also to introduce to the student's additional curricular tools, particularly, concerning statistical analysis. Among various model organisms available, barley possesses several unique features for demonstrating genetic principles. Therefore, we have generated a barley F2 population from the parental lines of the Oregon Wolfe Barley collection ( The objective of this work is to present this F2 population, composed of more than 300 individuals, as a model to teach Mendelian genetics in a medium-high level Genetics course. We provide an exhaustive phenotypic and genotypic description of this plant material, including qualitative and quantitative traits as well as a set of molecular markers. Examples of genetic interaction (epistasis) and linkage analysis are explored and discussed. The description of the specific methodologies and practical exercises carried out in our Genetics courses can be helpful for transferring our fruitful experience to anyone interested in implementing this educational resource in his/her teaching.

Keywords: Barley F2, educational genetics resources, mendelian genetics