Investigations on Xeriphytic Festuca Spp. From Morocco and Their Associated Endophytes
Tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea var. genuina Schreb.) is an allohexaploid with the 2n genomic formula of PPG1G1G2G2 (Sleper and West, 1996). The P genome is derived from the diploid meadow fescue (F. pratensis Huds.), and the G1G2 genomes are derived from the tetraploid F. arundinacea var. glaucescens Boiss. Tetraploid F. mairei St. Yves (M1M1M2M2) and octoploid F. arundinacea var. atlantigena (G1G1G2G2M1M1M2M2) share the M1M2 genomes, which are found only in Festuca spp. in or near the Atlas Mountain ranges of northwest Africa. Another Festuca found in the Atlas ranges of Morocco are the decaploids F. arundinacea var. cirtensis and letourneuxiana (QQG1G1G2G2M1M1M2M2). The M genome in Festuca is associated with a xeriphytic adaptation allowing the plant to survive long summer-dormancy periods in an area subjected to heavy grazing pressure by ruminants. Such germplasm provides opportunities for improving the drought and grazing tolerances of tall fescue.
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