Submitted to: Crop Science
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/14/2005
Publication Date: 2/1/2006
Citation: Zhang, Y., Mian, R.M., Bouton, J.H. 2006. Recent Molecular and Genomic Studies in Stress Tolerance of Forage and Turf Grasses. Crop Science. 46:497-511. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Improvement in stress tolerance of forage and turf grasses is a major goal of many researchers. Most forage and some turf grasses are grown on marginal lands under stressful environments with minimal inputs, whereas the high-input (fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, etc.) production systems for turf grasses in golf courses and lawns are expensive and often environmentally unfriendly. Forage and turf grass cultivars with improved stress tolerance will be useful for sustainable and environmentally friendly production systems for these grasses. Until recently, decades of breeding and selection have resulted in limited improvements of stress tolerance of forage and turf grass species. Recent developments in molecular and genomic sciences have started a new era in stress tolerance research in many plants. Compared to major crop plants (e.g., rice, wheat and maize), the development of molecular and genomic resources for forage and turf grasses has been rather limited. Yet, important molecular and genomic resources, e.g., expresses sequence tags (ESTs), PCR-based co-dominant molecular markers, microarrays, and efficient genetic transformation techniques are now available for some major forage and turf grasses, including ryegrasses and fescues. A number of research groups around the world are now using different molecular and genomic tools in studies aimed at improving stress tolerance of forage and turf grasses. Noteworthy progresses are being made in improvements of both biotic and abiotic stress tolerances of these grasses through the use of new molecular and genomic tools. The challenge is to simplify, optimize, and streamline the molecular tools and new discoveries so that they can be applied in forage and turf grass breeding in a cost-effective and efficient manner. Stress tolerances of many forage and turf grasses are positively influenced by their mutualistic association with Neotyphodium spp. endophytes. Molecular techniques can be used for studying the endophytes and their interactions with the host plants. In this review, we present an overview of recent molecular and genomic studies aimed at improving stress tolerance of forage and turf grasses, including endophyte grass interactions.