Barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) belongs to small grain cereals that cover more than 78% of the daily calorie consumption of humans. With a prediction of 9.7 billion humans in 2050 (FAO stats) and climatic changes, the question of increasing small grain cereal’s production has become an agricultural challenge. Drought exerts a strong environmental pressure, causing large yield losses worldwide. Therefore, understanding the mechanisms responsible for grain development from the fertilization to the mature dry grain is essential to understand how drought can affect this developmental program. In this book chapter, we present the physiological, molecular and hormonal regulation of barley grain development. In a second part, we describe the consequences of drought at different stage of barley development, with a special focus on the reproductive phase. Finally, in the last part, we present the different methods used to decipher new genetic information related to drought-tolerance. All this knowledge contributes to understanding the tolerance mechanisms of barley and to developing breeding strategies aiming to bring about new varieties with sustained yield in harsh conditions.
Part of the book: Cereal Grains