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Molecular characterization of genetic diversity in European germplasm of perennial ryegrass


Perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) is the most important grass species for temperate grassland agriculture. The level and distribution of genetic variation in gene bank ecotype collections is still largely unknown but of great interest for the planning of breeding programs. The objectives of this study were to (i) assess the molecular diversity of Polish ecotypes of perennial ryegrass, and (ii) compare the relationship between this group and German ecotypes and European cultivars investigated previously. A total number of 166 polymorphic marker bands were detected among the 171 individual plants of the 9 Polish ecotypes. In a joint analysis with 9 Polish and 22 German ecotypes, and 22 European cultivars 172 polymorphic RAPD markers could be found. Genetic distance among the Polish ecotypes ranged from 0.31 to 0.51, while for all 53 populations a broader range was detected (0.25–0.67). An analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA) revealed a much larger variation within populations (71%) than among them (29%). The Polish ecotypes contained the highest within population variation (74%). The largest among group difference (15%) was found between the Polish ecotypes versus all other accessions. We conclude that the Polish ecotypes represent a valuable genetic resource for enlarging the genetic variation in the West European germplasm pool of perennial ryegrass.

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Correspondence to U. K. Posselt.

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Bolaric, S., Barth, S., Melchinger, A.E. et al. Molecular characterization of genetic diversity in European germplasm of perennial ryegrass. Euphytica 146, 39–44 (2005).

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Key words

  • diversity
  • ecotypes
  • genetic distance
  • Lolium perenne L.
  • RAPD marker