091 Cytogenetics of Inland Saltgrass

in HortScience
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  • 1 Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523

Inland saltgrass, Distichlis spicata var. stricta (Torr.) Beetle, is a native western U.S. grass that has potential in turf situations. Elite clones with outstanding potential have been selected. Poor seed production appears to be the main limiting factor for its use as turf in saline conditions. In order to better understand seed set, 40 genotypes were examined for chromosome number and morphology. Chromosome numbers of root tip metaphase spreads varied with the most common being 2n = 38. However, chromosome numbers of 39, 40, 42, and 74 were also observed. Meiotic examination of anthers revealed 19 bivalents for those with 38 chromosomes while those with 42 had 20 bivalents with 2 unpaired chromosomes. The unpaired chromosomes lagged at anaphase. Crosses among genotypes of different chromosome number have resulted in good seed set. Harvested seed are germinable and plants from these crosses are being grown for further studies.