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ARS Home » Plains Area » Woodward, Oklahoma » Rangeland and Pasture Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #344284

Research Project: Sustaining Southern Plains Landscapes through Plant Genetics and Sound Forage-Livestock Production Systems

Location: Rangeland and Pasture Research

Title: Recurrent selection increases the seed germination of little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium)

Author
item Springer, Timothy

Submitted to: Euphytica
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/20/2017
Publication Date: 11/17/2017
Publication URL: http://handle.nal.usda.gov/10113/5861449
Citation: Springer, T.L. 2017. Recurrent selection increases the seed germination of little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium). Euphytica. 213:279. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10681-017-2067-1.

Interpretive Summary: Rapid seed germination is an important characteristic when it comes to stand establishment under variable environmental conditions. The USDA-Agricultural Research Service Southern Plains Range Research Station has shown that it is possible to simultaneously select for increased seed germination, speed of germination, and spikelet weight of little bluestem using recurrent selection by selecting for increased seed germination in simulated dry conditions. Two cycle of selection were used to develop Syn-1 and Syn-2 lines from six experimental Syn-0 lines. It was found that germination of Syn-1 seeds was 3.7% higher than Syn-0 seeds, and Syn-2 seeds were 16.2% higher than Syn-1 seeds. Thus, it was possible to increase the seed germination of the six little bluestem lines using simulated dry conditions with recurrent selection. Improving the speed of seed germination as well as the percentage of seed germination should result in better stand establishment under varied climatic conditions.

Technical Abstract: Rainfall is often inadequate for satisfactory seed germination and emergence under field conditions. This research was designed to improve the seed germination of six experimental lines of little bluestem [Schizachyrium scoparium (Michx.) Nash]. Two cycle of recurrent selection were used to develop Syn-1 and Syn-2 lines from six experimental Syn-0 lines. Cycle 1 consisted of germinating 3,500 open-pollinated seeds of each Syn-0 line in water of –0.8 MPa potential for 7-d. All germinated seeds (approximately 250 for each of the six lines) were selected to create six Syn-1 lines. Cycle 2 selection was similar to Cycle 1, except that Syn-1 lines were used to create six Syn-2 lines. To test the effects of selection, four 50-spikelet samples of the 18 lines were germinated in water of –0.8 MPa potential for 7-d for two consecutive harvest years. Germination of Syn-1 seeds was 3.7% higher than Syn-0 seeds, and Syn-2 seeds were 16.2% higher than Syn-1 seeds. Thus, it was possible to increase the seed germination of the six little bluestem lines at the water potential used with recurrent selection.