Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/1/2003
Publication Date: 9/24/2003
Citation: BERTOLI, F.B., JOHNSON, R.C., LUCARONI, B., ROMANI, M., RUSSI, L., PIANO, E., FALCINELLI, M. AGRONOMIC AND MOLECULAR EVALUATION OF KENTUCKY BLUEGRASS GERMPLASM COLLECTED IN ITALY. 2003. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis L.) is a forage and turf grass, widely cultivated in temperate climates throughout the world. Its facultative apomixis, highly polyploid and even aneuploid genome hamper traditional breeding strategies aimed at obtaining superior genotypes. On the other hand, the high versatility of the mode of reproduction, that spans from near obligate apomixis to out-crossing sexuality, and the retention of a pollen recognition system have created a high degree of genetic variation in nature. This variation can be exploited directly by singling out superior apomictic genotypes, thus shortening the development of new cultivars. The collection and the evaluation of native germplasm, well adapted to different climates, could also be of great interest for a low input, sustainable turf management. Sixteen indigenous populations, collected in North and Central Italy, were evaluated for potential turf usage and seed production in two contrasting environments in Italy, the Po Valley (Lodi) and Central Italy (Perugia). Moreover, AFLP DNA markers have been used to fingerprint the germplasm in order to assess genetic variation between and within populations. The AFLP DNA showed a wide range of the similarity values, indicating high variation among the populations. Populations from North Italy and those from Central Italy were sharply distinguished by means of both molecular markers and agronomic traits. The research suggests that adaptation of Poa pratensis indigenous to Italy is dependent on site of origin associated with different environments. This information will enhance selection resources for developing Poa pratensis cultivars for Italian conditions.