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Marker assisted polycross breeding to increase diversity and yield in perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.)

Summary

In this study, the application of molecular markers to optimise genetic diversity in a polycross breeding program of perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) was evaluated. The genetic diversity among 98 potential parental plants from three maturity groups (early, intermediate and late flowering) was investigated using amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) markers. For each maturity group, two polycrosses of six parental plants with contrasting levels of genetic diversity were composed. Average genetic diversity among parents selected for narrow polycrosses was 36% lower than among parents selected for wide polycrosses. Diversity within first generation synthetic progenies (Syn1) was proportional to the diversity within the respective parental polycrosses. However, differences were less pronounced with Syn1 progenies from narrow polycrosses showing 16% reduced diversity when compared to Syn1 progenies from wide polycrosses. Multivariate analyses allowed for a clear separation of the six Syn1 progenies based on AFLP markers and demonstrated their genetic distinctness. Evaluation of dry matter yield, date of ear emergence and stem length of Syn1 and Syn2 progenies showed progenies from wide polycrosses to be constantly higher yielding when compared to progenies from narrow polycrosses. On the other hand, there was no significant difference in variability for the two morphological traits between progenies of narrow- and wide polycrosses. The results presented here provide evidence for an efficient application of molecular markers to select genetically diverse polycross parents which resulted in an average yield increase of 3.8%.

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Correspondence to Roland KöLliker.

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KöLliker, R., Boller, B. & Widmer, F. Marker assisted polycross breeding to increase diversity and yield in perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.). Euphytica 146, 55–65 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10681-005-6036-8

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10681-005-6036-8

Key words

  • AFLP
  • genetic diversity
  • heterosis
  • polycross
  • uniformity
  • yield