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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Madison, Wisconsin » U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center » Dairy Forage Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #327851

Title: Genetic control of flowering and biomass in switchgrass

item JIANG, YIWEI - Purdue University
item TAYLOR, MEGAN - Purdue University
item TORNQVIST, CARL-ERIK - University Of Wisconsin
item Casler, Michael
item Grabowski, Paul

Submitted to: Molecular Breeding of Forage and Turf Conference
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/1/2016
Publication Date: 8/15/2016
Citation: Jiang, Y., Taylor, M., Tornqvist, C., Casler, M.D., Grabowski, P.P. 2016. Genetic control of flowering and biomass in switchgrass [abstract]. Molecular Breeding of Forage and Turf Conference. P. 26.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Early flowering can negatively affect biomass yield of switchgrass. In temperate regions of the USA, flowering occurs in switchgrass around the time of peak biomass yield (about 5 to 8 weeks prior to killing frost), effectively reducing the length of the growing season. The use of late-flowering switchgrass genotypes has proven an effective mechanism to increase biomass production in the northern USA. Southern populations (lowland ecotypes) of switchgrass can be 4–6 weeks later in flowering time than upland types. Selection of late flowering genotypes of southern origin, but under northern conditions, can extend vegetative growth. Late flowering and winter hardy cultivars can have up to a 50% increase in biomass yield in the northern USA, compared to early flowering cultivars. To develop a rational strategy for creating improved switchgrass with late flowering, it would be beneficial to have a better understanding of the genes that control flowering time in switchgrass. Through a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of 1.3 million single nucleotide polymorphisms with 509 diverse individuals from both lowland and upland panels, we have identified a few genes significantly associated with flowering time through regulating flowering time, affecting the expression of floral repressors or involving in the circadian clock. Genetic maps of three populations derived from upland (early flowering) and lowland (late flowering) ecotypes have been established. Heading date, flowering time and plant biomass of progeny have been evaluated in the field in two locations. The quantitative trait loci (QTLs) will be identified and can verify the results from GWAS. The results will aid breeding programs in developing late flowering varieties of switchgrass that fully utilize the growing season and achieve high biomass yield.