Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: October 15, 2012
Publication Date: December 1, 2012
Citation: Robbins, M.D., Staub, J.E., Ma, Y., Larson, S.R., Johnson, P.G. 2012. Marker-trait association of rangeland and turf traits in hybrids of Festuca idahoensis and Festuca ovina. Meeting Abstract. Utah Genetic Society Meeting, Abstract Book, Pg 4. Technical Abstract: The fine fescue species Festuca idahoensis Elmer is native to the Intermountain West and has potential for low-input turf and rangeland applications. The poor seed production and weak seedling vigor of this species may be overcome by identification and improvement of interspecific hybrids between F. idahoensis and F. ovina L. concomitant with detection of economically important marker-trait associations for plant development. To this end, we assessed a population of cross-progenies derived from an open-pollinated crossing block of F. idahoensis and F. ovina parents for morphological characteristics and AFLP markers. A total of 261 cross progenies were cloned and planted in a replicated trial at Hyde Park, UT., with seven F. idahoensis and three F. ovina commercial controls. Plant vigor, total biomass, height, width, re-growth, 100 seed weight, and seed production were evaluated in 2010 and 2011. Cross-progenies were significantly different from each other and controls (P<0.0001) for all phenotypic traits over both years. Plant vigor was significantly correlated (P<0.0001) with plant height (r2=0.91), width (r2=0.83), and total biomass (r2=0.89). Most of the cross-progenies grouped together while the controls were unique based on Principal Component Analysis (PCA) of the morphological data. This result was supported by genetic differentiation analyses of six selective AFLP primer combinations which provided a neighbor-joining tree and Bayesian clustering by STRUCTURE. AFLP results showed the interspecific nature of the cross-progenies while the controls grouped together by species. Several marker-trait associations were detected over both years using single-factor ANOVA of the AFLP data for each trait. These results provide a starting point for improvement of F. idahoensis with traits from F. ovina using a combination of phenotypic and marker-assisted selection.