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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Develop Improved Plant Genetic Resources to Enhance Pasture and Rangeland Productivity in the Semiarid Regions of the Western U.S.

Location: Forage and Range Research

Title: Molecular markers highlight variation within and among Kentucky bluegrass varieties and accessions

Authors
item BUSHMAN, SHAUN
item WARNKE, SCOTT
item Amundsen, Keenan -
item Combs, Kathleen -
item Johnson, Paul -

Submitted to: Crop Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: May 31, 2013
Publication Date: May 31, 2013
Citation: Bushman, B.S., Warnke, S.E., Amundsen, K.L., Combs, K., Johnson, P.G. 2013. Molecular markers highlight variation within and among Kentucky bluegrass varieties and accessions. Crop Science 53:2245-2254.

Interpretive Summary: Assessing relationships among germplasm and cultivars of Kentucky bluegrass (Poa protensis L.) is limited to field evaluations or a small set of molecular markers. To improve the efficiency of characterizing Kentucky bluegrass cultivars and germplasm, this study was designed to develop a larger set of robust molecular markers and a concise panel of cultivars to assess relationships of Kentucky bluegrass. An extensive library of simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers from expressed gene sequences was developed and used to assess relationships among and within 24 cultivars and accessions. Plants generally grouped as cultivars in cluster analysis, but molecular outlying plants and phenotypic offtype plants were found in 15 of the entries. The cultivars represented the major Kentucky bluegrass classification types, and were consistent with previous reports. Salt tolerant NPGS accessions were placed in context with the cultivars, and grouped closest to the Eurasian/Common type cultivar Kenblue. Similarity of plants within cultivars varied from 60% to 98%, but never reached 100%. These data showed that, with two exceptions, the cultivars could represent the major Kentucky bluegrass classification types, and also that molecular variation exists within putatively apomictic plants.

Technical Abstract: Assessing relationships among germplasm and cultivars of Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis L.) is limited to field evaluations or a small set of molecular markers. To improve the efficiency of characterizing Kentucky bluegrass cultivars and germplasm, this study was designed to develop a larger set of robust molecular markers and a concise panel of cultivars to assess relationships of Kentucky bluegrass. An extensive library of simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers from expressed gene sequences was developed and used to assess relationships among and within 24 cultivars and accessions. Plants generally grouped as cultivars in cluster analysis, but molecular outlying plants and phenotypic offtype plants were found in 15 of the entries. The cultivars represented the major Kentucky bluegrass classification types, and were consistent with previous reports. Salt tolerant NPGS accessions were placed in context with the cultivars, and grouped closest to the Eurasian/Common type cultivar Kenblue. Similarity of plants within cultivars varied from 60% to 98%, but never reached 100%. These data showed that, with two exceptions, the cultivars could represent the major Kentucky bluegrass classification types, and also that molecular variation exists within putatively apomictic plants.

Last Modified: 8/27/2014
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