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  • Author or Editor: Karen R. Harris-Shultz x
  • Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science x
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The release of the bermudagrass (Cynodon spp.) triploid hybrid ‘Tifgreen’ revolutionized southeastern U.S. golf course greens. Off-types within this cultivar began to be identified soon after the initial plantings, and through the last 50 years, many of the best performing off-types have been released as new cultivars. Examination of some of the most popular somatic mutants with a new set of 47 simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers and 23 previously discovered genomic SSR markers identified five polymorphic fragments (as compared with ‘Tifgreen’) among three cultivars, TifEagle, MiniVerde, and Tifdwarf. Each polymorphism appears to be a slight increase/decrease in microsatellite repeat number and the polymorphic fragments are unique for each cultivar. Two polymorphic fragments were identified that were unique to ‘Tifdwarf’, one polymorphic fragment was unique to ‘TifEagle’, and two polymorphic fragments were unique to ‘MiniVerde’. Furthermore, three of the five polymorphic markers display an additional allele only in the shoot tissue but not in the root tissue of ‘TifEagle’ and ‘Tifdwarf’. This finding suggests that ‘TifEagle’ and ‘Tifdwarf’ are somatic chimeras. This set of SSR markers identifies repeatable polymorphic fragments among multiple ‘Tifgreen’-derived cultivars and gives insight into the nature of the mutations that exist within ‘Tifgreen’.

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Genetic linkage maps of bermudagrass (Cynodon spp.) species using 118 triploid individuals derived from a cross of T89 [C. dactylon (2n = 4x = 36)] and T574 [C. transvaalensis (2n = 2x = 18)] were enriched with expressed sequence tags-derived simple sequence repeat (EST-SSR) markers. Primers were developed from 53 ESTs containing SSRs producing 75 segregating markers from which 28 could be mapped to the T89 and T574 genetic maps. With the addition of previously generated marker data, 26 T89 linkage groups and eight T574 linkage groups were formed using a log-of-odds (LOD) value of 4.0. The T89 and T574 linkage maps spanned 1055 cM and 311.1 cM and include 125 and 36 single-dose amplified fragments (SDAFs), respectively. Many of the SDAFs displayed disomic segregation and thus T89 may be a segmental allotetraploid or an allotetraploid. The additional EST-SSR markers add value to the maps by increasing marker density and provide markers that can be easily transferred to other bermudagrass populations. Furthermore, EST-SSRs can be immediately used to assess genetic diversity, identify non-mutated cultivars of bermudagrass, confirm pedigrees, and differentiate contaminants from cultivars derived from ‘Tifgreen’.

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Zoysiagrass (Zoysia sp.) is used as a warm-season turfgrass for lawns, parks, and golf courses in the warm, humid and transitional climatic regions of the United States. Zoysiagrass is an allotetraploid species (2n = 4x = 40) and some cultivars are known to easily self- and cross-pollinate. Previous studies showed that genetic variability in the clonal cultivars Emerald and Diamond was likely the result of contamination (seed production or mechanical transfer) or mislabeling. To determine the extent of genetic variability of vegetatively propagated zoysiagrass cultivars, samples were collected from six commercially available zoysiagrass cultivars (Diamond, Emerald, Empire, JaMur, Meyer, Zeon) from five states (Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Texas). Two of the newest cultivar releases (Geo and Atlantic) were to serve as outgroups. Where available, one sample from university research plots and two samples from sod farms were collected for each cultivar per state. Forty zoysiagrass simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers and flow cytometry were used to compare genetic and ploidy variation of each collected sample to a reference sample. Seventy-five samples were genotyped and an unweighted pair group method with arithmetic mean clustering revealed four groups. Group I (Z. japonica) included samples of ‘Meyer’ and Empire11 (‘Empire’ sample at location #11), Group II (Z. japonica × Z. pacifica) included samples of ‘Emerald’ and ‘Geo’, Group III (Z. matrella) included samples of ‘Diamond’ and ‘Zeon’, and Group IV (Z. japonica) consisted of samples from ‘Empire’, ‘JaMur’, ‘Atlantic’, and Meyer3 (‘Meyer’ at sample location #3). Samples of ‘Empire’, ‘Atlantic’, and ‘JaMur’ were indistinguishable with the markers used. Four samples were found to have alleles different from the respective reference cultivar, including two samples of ‘Meyer’, one sample of ‘Empire’, and one sample of ‘Emerald’. Three of these samples were from Texas and one of these samples was from Florida. Three of the four samples that were different from the reference cultivar were university samples. In addition, one sample, Empire11, was found to be an octoploid (2n = 8x = 80). For those samples that had a fingerprint different from the reference cultivar, contamination, selfing, and/or hybridization with other zoysiagrasses may have occurred.

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