BackgroundTranscription factor (TF) GAMYB, belonging to MYB family (named after the gene of the avian myeloblastosis virus) is a master gibberellin (GA)-induced regulatory protein that is crucial for development and germination of cereal grain and involved in anther formation. It activates many genes including high-molecular-weight glutenin and α-amylase gene families. This study presents the first attempt to characterize the rye gene encoding GAMYB in relation to its sequence, polymorphisms, and phenotypic effects.ResultsScGAMYB was mapped on rye chromosome 3R using high-density Diversity Arrays Technology (DArT)/DArTseq-based maps developed in three mapping populations. The ScGAMYB sequences were identified in RNA-seq libraries of four rye inbred lines. The transcriptome used for the search contained almost 151,000 transcripts with a median contig length of 500 nt. The average amount of total base raw data was approximately 9 GB. Comparative analysis of the ScGAMYB sequence revealed its high level of homology to wheat and barley orthologues. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) detected among rye inbred lines allowed the development of allele specific-PCR (AS-PCR) markers for ScGAMYB that might be used to detect this gene in wide genetic stocks of rye and triticale. Segregation of the ScGAMYB alleles showed significant relationship with α-amylase activity (AMY).ConclusionsThe research showed the strong similarity of rye GAMYB sequence to its orthologues in other Graminae and confirmed the position in the genome consistent with the collinearity rule of cereal genomes. Concurrently, the ScGAMYB coding sequence (cds) showed stronger variability (24 SNPs) compared to the analogous region of wheat (5 SNPs) and barley (7 SNPs). The moderate regulatory effect of ScGAMYB on AMY was confirmed, therefore, ScGAMYB was identified as a candidate gene for partial control of α-amylase production in rye grain. The predicted structural protein change in the aa region 362–372, caused by a single SNP (C/G) at the 1100 position in ScGAMYB cds and single aa sequence change (S/C) at the 367 position, is the likely cause of the differences in the effectiveness of ScGAMYB regulatory function associated with AMY. The development of sequence-based, allele-specific (AS) PCR markers could be useful in research and application.