Location: Forage and Range Research
Title: Genetic characterization of Asian fine fescue identifies unique germplasm for forage and turf breeding Authors
Submitted to: Molecular Breeding of Forage and Turf Conference
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: October 15, 2012
Publication Date: November 10, 2012
Citation: Ma, Y., Staub, J.E., Robbins, M.D., Johnson, P.G. 2012. Genetic characterization of Asian fine fescue identifies unique germplasm for forage and turf breeding. Molecular Breeding of Forage and Turf Conference. (Conference Abstract Book, Pg 2.) Technical Abstract: Evaluation of genetic structure and plant morphology are essential to better utilize introduced germplasm in fine-leaved fescue breeding. Recent collections (2006-2010) of fine-leaved Festuca valesiaca and Festuca rubra germplasm have been made by the USDA, ARS in Kyrgyzstan (KGZ) and the People's Republic of China (PRC). This research describes the structural and morphological analysis of these accessions as compared to commercial controls and related taxa. In 2008, eleven F. valesiaca, nine F. rubra accessions, and eight commercial cultivars were transplanted in a field trial at Blue Creek, UT. Plant height, width, vigor, biomass, and seed production traits were evaluated from 2009 to 2011. Analysis of variance indicated a significant (P<0.0001) difference among entries for all traits over years. Correlation analysis demonstrated that plant vigor was significantly (P<0.0001) correlated with height (r2=0.67), width (r2=0.77), and biomass (r2=0.81). Principle Component Analysis identified several distinct accessions that differed from commercial cultivars. Population structure analysis using Bayesian clustering and neighbor-joining tree approaches on AFLP data indicated that the F. valesiaca and F. rubra accessions were genetically unique and differed from the other taxa examined. Given their genetic distinction and consistent performance for multiple traits, F. rubra entries PRC-1574, KGZ-231, and KGZ-266 and F. valesiaca entries KGZ-198 and KGZ-229 have potential for forage applications. PRC-1574 and F. valesiaca entries KGZ-094 and KGZ-229 should be considered for turf grass development. Moreover, the F. valesiaca accessions KGZ-249, KGZ-242, and KGZ-229 are the best seed producers. This research indicates that KGZ-249, KGZ-242, KGZ-229 and PRC-1574 will likely have potential in plant improvement.