Within the Lolium-Festuca genome complex there is a need for modern breeding approaches to facilitate the rapid development of improved cultivars. Traditional recurrent or mass-selection methods for population or synthetic development are labor-intensive and time-consuming. The recent development of an approach to produce dihaploid or homozygous lines of tall fescue offers an opportunity to achieve such new and improved cultivars. Dihaploid inducer lines of annual ryegrass (Lolium perenne L. subsp). multiflorum (Lam.) Husnot (syn. Lolium multiflorum Lam.) which exhibit genome loss when hybridized with tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb. syn. Lolium arundinaceum (Schreb.) Darbysh.) were previously hybridized to an array of tall fescue germplasm which resulted in the generation of numerous dihaploid tall fescue lines. Four of these lines were utilized to perform a preliminary evaluation on the performance of F1 hybrid tall fescue. Results of the performance trials suggests F1 hybrid tall fescue can exhibit heterosis, hybrid vigor and provide forage yields that are superior or competitive to check cultivars. A comparison of F1 forage production to the parental DH was also included in the study to determine the potential for a hybrid vigor and a heterotic response. Preliminary molecular analysis of the DH lines and their pairing for hybrid production also suggests that genetic distance measures may be useful in identifying those DH parental lines which maximize hybrid vigor and display a heterotic response. Though these are preliminary data, utilizing only experimental materials, the results suggest that the gains in production when developing F1 hybrids can be applied to tall fescue improvement programs.
Published Date: 2021-04-12; Received Date: 2021-03-22