Variation and heritability in meadow bromegrass (Bromus riparius Rehm.)
Meadow bromegrass (Bromus riparius Rehm.) is a recently introduced pasture grass in western Canada. Its leafy production and rapid regrowth have made it the most widely used grass species for pasturing beef animals in this region. As relatively little breeding work has been done on this species, there is little information on its breeding behaviour. The main objective of this study was to estimate genetic parameters and assess breeding methodologies for meadow bromegrass. Forty-four meadow bromegrass genotypes from the three available cultivars and forty half-sib (polycross (PX) and open-pollinated (OP)) and selfed (S1) progenies were evaluated for morphological and agronomic characters, and molecular (RAPD) markers. Genetic variation for total biological yield, head weight, seed yield, harvest index, height, growth habit, spread, and volume was significant in the OP and S1 tests. Genetic variation estimates for dry matter yield were negative (PX), not significant (OP), or moderate (S1). Estimated geneticvariation for quality traits and those characters which were visually evaluated was not significant, except for growth habit (OP and S1) and acid-detergent fiber (ADF) (S1). Among progeny lines, RAPD marker variation found in the half-sib progenies accounted for about 15% of the total variation. In the S1 test the variation among progeny lines was twice that of the half-sib progenies. Correlations between the different characters demonstrated that is possible to simultaneously improve both seed and forage yield. Since leafiness was found to be correlated with dry matter yield but not with seed yield it may be possible to simultaneously improve all three characters. Rankings of progenies by the half-sib tests for forage and seed yield were not changed by the use of the synthetic parental value (SVi) which includes information from selfed progeny. The PX progeny test did not discriminate parents as well as the OP and S1 tests, which may be due to non-random pollination in the polycross. The S1 progeny test showed the highest predicted response to selection, followed by the OP test. Heritability estimates from the OP and S1 tests for total biological yield, seed yield, harvest index, and height, were similar to those found in the clonal evaluation test. Therefore, a clonal evaluation test will provide sufficient information to choose parents for breeding an improved synthetic cultivar for these characters. Observed dissimilarity of ranking of progeny lines over progeny tests for some traits (head weight, seed yield, and harvest index) was due to discrepancies between the PX and OP tests. No differences in progeny line ranking among the progeny tests were observed for all other traits. Analysis of variance on marker frequency means showed that interaction between genotypes and progeny lines was also not significant.
seed yield, perennial forage grasses, meadow bromegrass - agronomic characteristics, meadow bromegrass - morphological characteristics, meadow bromegrass - genetics, plant science, forage yield
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)