ISSN 1392-3196 / e-ISSN 2335-8947
Zemdirbyste-Agriculture, vol. 101, No. 4 (2014), p. 411–418
DOI  10.13080/z-a.2014.101.052

Genetic and phenotypic diversity for drought tolerance in perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.)



Perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) is a widely grown species in temperate regions as forage grass as well as for recreational and bioenergy production purposes. Information on perennial ryegrass genetic background facilitates breeding programs by providing an assessment of genetic diversity in exotic material. Genetic diversity of 104 genotypes of perennial ryegrass was evaluated using phenotypic drought traits and amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) data. A high variation was observed for the drought tolerance traits. Chlorophyll fluorescence (Fv/Fm) explained 88.8% of the whole variation observed in the collection, while re-growth accounted for 9.1% of all variation. A principal component analysis on the basis of phenotypic drought tolerance traits classified perennial ryegrass collection into three clusters. Three AFLP primer pairs produced a total of 210 fragments, 202 of which were polymorphic among all accessions. The genetic diversity of the collection was high with an average similarity coefficient of 0.46 and the average polymorphic information content of 0.29. The principal component analysis based on AFLP data did not cluster genotypes into any major group. A total of six AFLP fragments, identified as being prevalent in drought tolerant genotypes, together with the high degree of genetic homogeneity found, could provide a choice of selecting genotypes from this perennial ryegrass collection for a drought tolerance breeding program.

Key words: drought, Lolium perenne, molecular markers, phenotypic traits.

Full text:  101_4_str52.pdf