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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Logan, Utah » Forage and Range Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #377169

Research Project: Improved Plant Genetic Resources and Methodologies for Rangelands, Pastures, and Turf Landscapes in the Semiarid Western U.S.

Location: Forage and Range Research

Title: Molecular characterization of Algerian populations of cocksfoot and tall fescue: Ploidy level determination and genetic diversity analysis

item BENFRIHA, HADJER - Ecole Nationale Superieur
item MEFTI, MOHAMED - Ecole Nationale Superieur
item Robbins, Matthew
item Thorsted, Kimberly
item Bushman, Shaun

Submitted to: Grassland Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/10/2021
Publication Date: 2/11/2021
Citation: Benfriha, H., Mefti, M., Robbins, M.D., Thorsted, K., Bushman, B.S. 2021. Molecular characterization of Algerian populations of cocksfoot and tall fescue: Ploidy level determination and genetic diversity analysis. Grassland Science. 67:167-176.

Interpretive Summary: Genetic mechanisms conferring salt and drought tolerance to Kentucky bluegrass have been investigated in recent years. As mechanisms and genes are found that can improve those abiotic stress tolerances, there is a need to use Mendelian selection to introgress them into elite cultivars. With apomixis and high polyploidy, that Mendelian selection is challenging. In this paper we filtered out true hybrids from several Kentucky bluegrass crosses, and show the inheritance of salt tolerance. We found hybrids with promising salt tolerance, and characterized parents that are more likely to produce salt-tolerant hybrids.

Technical Abstract: Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis L.) is widely used because of its excellent adaptation to recreational spaces in the intermountain West and elsewhere. It is considered salt-sensitive and therefore is a good candidate for breeding improvement for this trait so poor quality water can be used for irrigation. However, improvement in Kentucky bluegrass is difficult due to apomictic reproduction and dosage effects from high polyploidy. The objective of this study was to evaluate salinity tolerance of Kentucky bluegrass hybrids and their parental lines and identify those with above mid-parent trait values for salt tolerance to identify lines for future breeding. Fifteen hybrid progeny from five paired crosses were identified, their apomictic offtype characterized with flow cytometry, and their turf quality and electrolyte leakage traits measured over time and under salt treatments. There was significant variation in salinity tolerance among the different parents and hybrids, with most hybrids showing trait values between the two parents. The parents NorthStar and PI371768 tended to produce the most tolerant hybrids, and six hybrids were above mid-parent averages and significantly better than the lower performing parent.