GENETIC ENHANCEMENT AND MANAGEMENT OF WARM SEASON GRASS SPECIES FOR FORAGE AND ALTERNATIVE USES
Location: Crop Genetics and Breeding Research
Title: Transferability of SSR and RGA markers developed in Cynodon spp. to Zoysia spp.
Submitted to: Plant Molecular Biology Reporter
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: January 22, 2012
Publication Date: May 1, 2012
Citation: Harris-Shultz, K.R., Milla-Lewis, S.R., Brady, J.A. 2012. Transferability of SSR and RGA markers developed in Cynodon spp. to Zoysia spp.. Plant Molecular Biology Reporter. 30:1264-1269.
Interpretive Summary: The turfgrass breeding program in Tifton, GA, which encompasses federal and state researchers, has a long history of releasing improved bermudagrass hybrids that are popular worldwide. In 2010, members of the Tifton turfgrass breeding program announced the acquisition of a zoysiagrass collection and a new emphasis on zoysiagrass breeding. As the primary focus of the molecular breeding program in Tifton had been on bermudagrass, a need existed for the development or acquisition of markers for zoysiagrass. In this research, a set of markers was identified that amplify in both zoysiagrass and bermudagrass and this set was used to assess genetic variability within zoysiagrass cultivars. Of interest, a vegetatively propagated zoysiagrass cultivar ‘Diamond’ was found to vary genetically between two different sources. Having a cultivar that is not genetically uniform may lead to patchy areas where differences in spring greenup, plant morphology, growth, color, and/or flowering are seen. This information is of great significance to golf course and sports field superintendants where zoysiagrass cultivars are frequently used as these industries demand visual uniformity from their turfgrasses.
Bermudagrass (Cynodon spp.) and zoysiagrass (Zoysia spp.), which are both used as warm-season turfgrasses in the United States, are members of subfamily Chloridoideae and are reported to be at least 55% genetically similar. To assess if molecular tools between the two species can be interchanged, 93 primer pairs corresponding to bermudagrass simple sequence repeats (SSR) and resistance gene analogs (RGAs) were used to amplify DNA from eight zoysiagrass cultivars representing three species, Z. japonica, Z. matrella, and Z. japonica x Z. pacifica. From these 93 bermudagrass primer pairs, 11 produced clear amplicons in Zoysia cultivars. Alleles from Z. japonica and Z. matrella accessions were scored, genetic similarities were calculated, and a cluster analysis was performed. Using these markers, genetic similarity estimates between zoysiagrass cultivars and bermudagrass accessions ranged from 0.16 to 0.22. The transferability of bermudagrass SSRs and RGAs to zoysiagrass cultivars was low (7-12%), but certain markers permitted detection of genetic variability among zoysiagrass cultivars.