Genetic variability of forage grass cultivars: A comparison of Festuca pratensis Huds., Lolium perenne L., and Dactylis glomerata L.
- Cite this article as:
- Kölliker, R., Stadelmann, F., Reidy, B. et al. Euphytica (1999) 106: 261. doi:10.1023/A:1003598705582
Three widely used cultivars of each of the species Festuca pratensis Huds., Lolium perenne L., and Dactylis glomerata L. were investigated by means of randomly amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) markers and vegetative growth traits in order to investigate genetic variability within each cultivar and to compare the level of diversity among cultivars and species. RAPD markers allowed a clear separation of the three species. Genetic variability based on RAPD markers was considerably lower for F. pratensis cultivars than for L. perenne and D. glomerata cultivars which showed similar levels of variability. The proportion of variability due to variation within cultivars, determined by an analysis of molecular variance, was lower in F. pratensis (64.6%) than in L. perenne (82.4%) and D. glomerata (85.1%). A comparison of F. pratensis and L. perenne, based on vegetative growth traits, confirmed the differences in genetic variability within cultivars. F. pratensis showed lower coefficients of genetic variation for eight of ten traits when compared to L. perenne. This study demonstrates considerable differences in genetic variability which may have consequences for the adaptability and persistency of individual cultivars.