Theoretical and Applied Genetics

, Volume 123, Issue 3, pp 369–382 | Cite as

QTL analyses and comparative genetic mapping of frost tolerance, winter survival and drought tolerance in meadow fescue (Festuca pratensis Huds.)

  • Vibeke Alm
  • Carlos S. Busso
  • Åshild Ergon
  • Heidi Rudi
  • Arild Larsen
  • Michael W. Humphreys
  • Odd Arne RognliEmail author
Original Paper


Quantitative trait loci (QTLs) for frost and drought tolerance, and winter survival in the field, were mapped in meadow fescue (Festuca pratensis Huds.) and compared with corresponding traits in Triticeae and rice to study co-location with putatively orthologous QTLs and known abiotic stress tolerance genes. The genomes of grass species are highly macrosyntenic; however, the Festuca/Lolium and Triticeae homoeologous chromosomes 4 and 5 show major structural differences that is especially interesting in comparative genomics of frost tolerance. The locations of two frost tolerance/winter survival QTLs on Festuca chromosome 5F correspond most likely to the Fr-A1 and Fr-A2 loci on wheat homoeologous group 5A chromosomes. A QTL for long-term drought tolerance on chromosome 3F (syntenic with rice 1) support evidence from introgression of Festuca genome segments onto homoeologous Lolium chromosomes (3L) that this genome region is an excellent source of tolerance towards drought stress. The coincident location of several stress tolerance QTL in Festuca with QTL and genes in Triticeae species, notably dehydrins, CBF transcription factors and vernalisation response genes indicate the action of structural or regulatory genes conserved across evolutionarily distant species.


Drought Tolerance Cold Acclimation Freezing Tolerance Frost Tolerance Winter Survival 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Quantitative trait loci


Frost tolerance


Winter survival


Moderate drought tolerance


Severe drought tolerance


Degree of green leaves after severe drought


Percentage of live tillers after severe drought


Interval mapping


Multiple QTL mapping



We gratefully acknowledge Hanne Henriksen, Øyvind Jørgensen and Torleiv Veum, The Norwegian University of Life Sciences, and Britta From, Graminor AS, for excellent technical assistance. We would like also to thank Dr. Harry Thomas, IBERS (formerly the Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research), for indispensable help with the drought experiment, and Simen R. Sandve for valuable comments on the manuscript. This investigation was supported by the EU-projects ‘European Gramineae Mapping Project’ (EGRAM—contract no. BI04-CT97-2220) and ‘Sustainable Grasslands Withstanding Environmental Stress’ (SAGES—contract no. QLK5-CT-2000-00764), and Grants no. 110733/112 and 110732/130 from the Research Council of Norway.

Supplementary material

122_2011_1590_MOESM1_ESM.doc (68 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 68 kb)
122_2011_1590_MOESM2_ESM.doc (37 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (DOC 37 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vibeke Alm
    • 1
    • 2
  • Carlos S. Busso
    • 1
    • 3
  • Åshild Ergon
    • 1
  • Heidi Rudi
    • 1
  • Arild Larsen
    • 4
  • Michael W. Humphreys
    • 5
  • Odd Arne Rognli
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Plant and Environmental SciencesNorwegian University of Life SciencesÅsNorway
  2. 2.Department of Research AdministrationUniversity of OsloOsloNorway
  3. 3.Department of Otolaryngology, Stanley S Scott Cancer CenterLouisiana State University Health Sciences CenterNew OrleansUSA
  4. 4.Graminor ASBodøNorway
  5. 5.Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS)Aberystwyth UniversityAberystwythUK

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