Table of Contents

Handbook on Agriculture, Biotechnology and Development

Handbook on Agriculture, Biotechnology and Development

Elgar original reference

Edited by Stuart J. Smyth, Peter W.B. Phillips and David Castle

This book is a compendium of knowledge, experience and insight on agriculture, biotechnology and development. Beginning with an account of GM crop adoptions and attitudes towards them, the book assesses numerous crucial processes, concluding with detailed insights into GM products. Drawing on expert perspectives of leading authors from 57 different institutions in 16 countries, it provides a unique, global overview of agbiotech following 20 years of adoption. Many consider GM crops the most rapid agricultural innovation adopted in the history of agriculture. This book provides insights as to why the adoption has occurred globally at such a rapid rate.

Chapter 47: Small grains: barley, oat and rye

Syed Masood H. Rizvi and Graham J. Scoles

Subjects: development studies, agricultural economics, development studies, economics and finance, agricultural economics, environment, agricultural economics, biotechnology, environmental sociology, innovation and technology, biotechnology


The small-grain cereals are temperate annual grasses cultivated primarily for their grains. Barley (Hordeum vulgare L.), oat (Avena sativa L.) and rye (Secale cereale L.) are members of the sub-family Pooideae within the monocot grass family Poaceae. Phylogenetic studies have estimated that these grasses (along with wheat) diverged from a common ancestor (Gaut, 2002; Kellogg, 2001; Zohary and Hopf, 2000), although barley and rye (tribe Triticeae) are more closely related to each other than to oat (tribe Aveneae). All three crops are characterized by large genome sizes (compared to maize and rice) - 5500 Mb (Mega base pair) for barley, 8000 Mb for rye and 11 300 Mb for oat (Bennett and Smith, 1976). To date, no genetically modified lines of these three crops have been commercialized although biotechnology tools have been implemented into breeding programs of these crops to various degrees through molecular marker assisted selection (MMAS). Barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) is an important cereal crop species, ranking after maize, wheat, rice and soybean in terms of area harvested worldwide (FAO, 2009, The barley genome (2n = 2x = 7), comprising more than 5000 Mb, equals approximately 12 times the size of the rice genome and consists of about 80 per cent repetitive DNA (Flavell et al., 1974). Most oat cultivars belong to Avena sativa L., an allohexaploid species with 2n = 6x = 42.

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