REDESIGNING FORAGE GERMPLASM AND PRODUCTION SYSTEMS FOR EFFICIENCY, PROFIT, AND SUSTAINABILITY OF DAIRY FARMS
Location: Dairy Forage and Aquaculture Research
Title: DNA Markers and Sequences Reveal Multiple Introductions of Meadow Fescue (Schedonorus pratensis) During European Settlement in the Paleozoic Plateau of the USA
Submitted to: International Symposium of Molecular Breeding of Forage Turf
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: January 15, 2010
Publication Date: March 15, 2010
Citation: Duncan, D., Jackson, R., Krohn, A., Casler, M.D. 2010. DNA Markers and Sequences Reveal Multiple Introductions of Meadow Fescue (Schedonorus pratensis) During European Settlement in the Paleozoic Plateau of the USA [abstract]. International Symposium of Molecular Breeding of Forage Turf. Paper No. P-35, p.88.
Meadow fescue [Schedonorus pratensis (Huds.) P. Beauv.] was introduced from Europe to North America during European migrations of the 18th and 19th centuries. Meadow fescue was the dominant fescue species during the first half of the 20th century, averaging approximately 100,000 kg of seed production per year. Following the introduction of tall fescue [S. phoenix (Scop.) Holub.] to North America, and the discovery of ‘KY-31’ in particular, meadow fescue quickly fell out of favor with forage producers, outreach specialists, and agronomists. Recent research has created renewed interest in meadow fescue for North American temperate zones, largely due to its extremely high palatability, digestibility, and apparent intake relative to tall fescue in managed grazing systems. Our objectives were to survey genetic diversity, identify population structure, and describe gene flow at regional and local levels for meadow fescue collected in the Paleozoic Plateau of the Upper Mississippi Watershed of the USA. The Paleozoic Plateau (Driftless Area = soils without glacial “drift”) consists of approximately 42,000 km2 and represents land that was not covered by the most recent Pleiostocene glaciation. Remnant meadow fescue populations have been identified on over 150 farms on the Paleozoic Plateau, none tracing to recent or modern cultivars. We surveyed 71 sites within this region using single sequence repeat (SSR) markers and cpDNA sequence information. Four distinct subpopulations emerged from this survey, three highly localized subpopulations and one highly dispersed across the sampling region. Sequencing of cpDNA and association with known European haplotypes revealed that most meadow fescue subpopulations derived from Eastern or Northern Europe, but one of the localized subpopulations had a haplotype of unknown European origin. Multiple introduction events, followed by numerous secondary seed dispersal events within the region, are responsible for the high level of diversity observed within the naturalized meadow fescue of this region.