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International Journal of Plant Genomics
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 874361, 17 pages
Research Article

Genome-Wide Comparative Analysis of Flowering-Related Genes in Arabidopsis, Wheat, and Barley

1Feed Crops Branch, Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, 7000-113 Street, Edmonton, AB, Canada T6H 5T6
2Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science, University of Alberta, 410 Agriculture/Forestry Centre, Edmonton, AB, Canada T6G 2P5

Received 4 June 2015; Revised 24 July 2015; Accepted 10 August 2015

Academic Editor: Peter Langridge

Copyright © 2015 Fred Y. Peng et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Early flowering is an important trait influencing grain yield and quality in wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) and barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) in short-season cropping regions. However, due to large and complex genomes of these species, direct identification of flowering genes and their molecular characterization remain challenging. Here, we used a bioinformatic approach to predict flowering-related genes in wheat and barley from 190 known Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana (L.) Heynh.) flowering genes. We identified 900 and 275 putative orthologs in wheat and barley, respectively. The annotated flowering-related genes were clustered into 144 orthologous groups with one-to-one, one-to-many, many-to-one, and many-to-many orthology relationships. Our approach was further validated by domain and phylogenetic analyses of flowering-related proteins and comparative analysis of publicly available microarray data sets for in silico expression profiling of flowering-related genes in 13 different developmental stages of wheat and barley. These further analyses showed that orthologous gene pairs in three critical flowering gene families (PEBP, MADS, and BBX) exhibited similar expression patterns among 13 developmental stages in wheat and barley, suggesting similar functions among the orthologous genes with sequence and expression similarities. The predicted candidate flowering genes can be confirmed and incorporated into molecular breeding for early flowering wheat and barley in short-season cropping regions.