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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Logan, Utah » Forage and Range Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #314929

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: Effects of selection on genetic diversity in native grass species

item Jensen, Kevin
item Jones, Thomas
item Larson, Steven

Submitted to: Ecological Society of America Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/10/2015
Publication Date: 8/9/2015
Citation: Jensen, K.B., Jones, T.A., Larson, S.R. 2015. Effects of selection on genetic diversity in native grass species. Ecological Society of America Abstracts. OOS 39-2.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: With the increased emphasis to use native plant materials in range revegetation programs the use of improved native plant materials often becomes a source of controversy. Surrounding this controversy is typically the question - does selection of better performing genotypes reduce the genetic diversity within the selected native grasses? This presentation describes the difference in population structure between self- and cross-pollinated grasses and how that may affect selection within each type. As a general rule, cross-pollinating grasses have 70% of their genetic variation within a population with 30% between populations. Using AFLP, 27 and 73% of the total variation was between populations and within populations of Snake River wheatgrass (Elymus wawawaiensis J. Carlson & Barkworth), respectively. Similar trends were reported in bluebunch wheatgrass [Pseudoroegneria spicata (Pursh) A. Love] at 15 and 67% between and within populations, respectively. Conversely in California bromegrass [Bromus carinatus Hook. & Arn.], which is self-pollinating, 5% of the variation was within populations and 95% between populations, opposite that of cross-pollinating grasses. In general, selection for seedling establishment, traits associated with seed yield, and persistence in bluebunch and Snake River wheatgrass did not reduce the genetic diversity within the selected population when compared to the unselected population. Data suggest that the number of individuals used in the first selection cycle can influence the genetic diversity within the selected populations.