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Title: Development of simple sequence repeat markers and the analysis of genetic diversity and ploidy level in a centipedegrass collection

item Harris-Shultz, Karen
item MILLA-LEWIS, SUSANA - North Carolina State University
item ZULETA, M. CAROLINA - North Carolina State University
item SCHWARTZ, BRIAN - University Of Georgia
item HANNA, WAYNE - University Of Georgia
item BRADY, JEFF - Texas A&M University

Submitted to: Crop Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/27/2011
Publication Date: 1/17/2012
Citation: Harris-Shultz, K.R., Milla-Lewis, S.R., Zuleta, M., Schwartz, B.M., Hanna, W.W., Brady, J.A. 2012. Development of simple sequence repeat markers and the analysis of genetic diversity and ploidy level in a centipedegrass collection. Crop Science. 52:383-392.

Interpretive Summary: In the Southeastern United States, centipedegrass is widely used for home lawns yet limited morphological variation is present. It is thought that the centipedegrass grown in the United States originated from seed collected in South China by Frank Meyer, a USDA plant explorer in 1916. In the fall of 1999, a germplasm collection trip was made to central and southern China to increase the diversity of the centipedegrass grown in the United States. In this study, using seeds from this collection trip, DNA markers were developed to assess the genetic variability of these centipedegrass accessions. Furthermore, the first genetic tools for centipedegrass were developed. Using these genetic tools, centipedegrass accessions could be divided into three groups and were all diploids. This information will be useful in making parental choices for the development of breeding populations.

Technical Abstract: Little is known about the genetic variability of centipedegrass [Eremochloa ophiuroides (Munro) Hack] and few genetic tools have been available for this species. In this study, 69 unique Eremochloa sequences were generated by using a compound simple sequence repeat (SSR)-based cloning method. Twenty-nine of these clones contained an internal SSR and 30 specific primer pairs were developed that produced suitable amplification. The level of genetic diversity was assessed using 55 centipedegrass accessions and one E. zeylanica accession using primer pairs developed from the compound SSR-based cloning technique. Twenty-four polymorphic markers could be scored and UPGMA cluster analysis showed that the Eremochloa accessions clustered into two groups, a large cluster of E. ophiuroides accessions and a group containing the single E. zeylanica accession. Principle coordinate analysis further divided the centipedegrass accessions into three groups. Ploidy analysis revealed all centipedegrass accessions were diploid, while the single E. zeylanica accession was found to be tetraploid. Furthermore, many of these markers can be used for other species belonging to the subfamily Panicoideae. The division of the centipedegrass accessions into groups and analysis of ploidy level provides information that will aid in the effective use of this germplasm in breeding programs.