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Lisa L. Baxter and Brian M. Schwartz

Bermudagrass (Cynodon spp.) is the foundation of the turfgrass industry in most tropical and warm-temperate regions. Development of bermudagrass as a turfgrass began in the early 1900s. Many of the cultivars commercially available today have been cooperatively released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) and the University of Georgia at the Coastal Plain Experiment Station in Tifton, GA.

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Wayne W. Hanna and Brian M. Schwartz

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Ryan N. Contreras, John M. Ruter and Brian M. Schwartz

Japanese-cedar [Cryptomeria japonica (L.f.) D. Don] represents an alternative to leyland cypress [×Cuprocyparis leylandii (A.B. Jacks. & Dallim.) Farjon] as an evergreen screen or specimen plant for landscapes. It performs well under a range of soil and environmental conditions but has been underused attributable, in part, to unsightly winter browning caused by photoinhibition. In previous studies, chance seedlings that did not exhibit winter browning were identified as tetraploids. The current study was conducted to induce polyploidy in japanese-cedar. Approximately 600 seedlings were sprayed with 150 μM oryzalin + 0.1% SilEnergy™ for 30 consecutive days under laboratory conditions. Two hundred thirty-seven seedlings with thickened and twisted leaves were selected, transplanted, and grown in a glasshouse for 120 days. Seedling ploidy levels were analyzed using flow cytometry 180 days after treatment (DAT), identifying 197 (83.1%) tetraploids, 22 (9.3%) cytochimeras, and 18 (7.6%) diploids. Morphology of induced tetraploids was similar to that previously described and provided a phenotypic marker during selection that was over 92% accurate. A random subset of 20 tetraploid individuals was analyzed 270 DAT and were found to contain only tetraploid cells in the leaves analyzed, confirming stability over this period. This study demonstrated the use of oryzalin for inducing tetraploids in japanese-cedar, which we predict will be effective in other gymnosperms.

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Karen R. Harris-Shultz, Brian M. Schwartz and Jeff A. Brady

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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Wayne W. Hanna, S. Kristine Braman and Brian M. Schwartz

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Wayne W. Hanna, S. Kristine Braman and Brian M. Schwartz

Free access

Wayne W. Hanna, S. Kristine Braman and Brian M. Schwartz

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Karen R. Harris-Shultz, Brian M. Schwartz, Wayne W. Hanna and Jeff A. Brady

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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Alexander R. Kowalewski, Brian M. Schwartz, Austin L. Grimshaw, Dana G. Sullivan and Jason B. Peake

Hybrid bermudagrasses (Cynodon dactylon × C. transvaalensis) typically have excellent wear tolerance when compared with other turfgrass species. This trait should be evaluated during variety development to reduce the risk of failure when new grasses are planted in areas with traffic stress. The objective of this research was to evaluate the wear tolerance of four hybrid bermudagrasses with differing morphological characteristics. Traffic was applied to the hybrid bermudagrass varieties ‘Tifway’, ‘TifSport’, and ‘TifTuf’, as well as an experimental hybrids (04-76) using a traffic simulator for 6 weeks. Leaf morphology (leaf width, length, and angle) and quantitative measure of density and color [normalized difference vegetation index ratio (NDVI), dark green color index (DGCI), and percent green turf color] were characterized before traffic, and then percent green turf color after 6 weeks of traffic was measured to estimate wear tolerance. ‘TifTuf’ hybrid bermudagrass provided the greatest wear tolerance, as well as the narrowest and shortest leaf lengths, greatest NDVI values and percent green color, and lowest DGCI before traffic. Conversely, 04-76 produced the poorest wear tolerance, as well as the widest and longest leaves, lowest NDVI values and percent green color, and highest DGCI values before traffic. Regression analysis determined that DGCI, leaf length, and leaf width were inversely, or negatively, correlated to wear tolerance, whereas percent green turf color before traffic was directly correlated to wear tolerance. For these hybrids, DGCI had the strongest correlation to increased wear tolerance.

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Karen R. Harris, Brian M. Schwartz, Andrew H. Paterson and Jeff A. Brady

Thirty-one partial bermudagrass (Cynodon spp.) disease-resistance gene analogs (BRGA) were cloned and sequenced from diploid, triploid, tetraploid, and hexaploid bermudagrass using degenerate primers to target the nucleotide binding site (NBS) of the NBS–leucine-rich repeat (LRR) resistance gene family. Alignment of deduced amino acid sequences revealed that the conserved motifs of the NBS are present and all sequences have non-Drosophila melanogaster Toll and mammalian interleukin-1 receptor (TIR) motifs. Using a neighbor-joining algorithm, a dendrogram was created and nine groups of deduced amino acid sequences from bermudagrass could be identified from those sequences that span the NBS. Four BRGA markers and 15 bermudagrass expressed sequence tags (ESTs) with similarity to resistance genes or resistance gene analogs were placed on a bermudagrass genetic map. Multiple BRGA and EST markers mapped on T89 linkage groups 1a and 5a and clusters were seen on T89 19 and two linkage groups previously unidentified. In addition, three primers made from BRGA groups and ESTs with similarity to NBS-LRR resistance genes amplify NBS-LRR analogs in zoysiagrass (Zoysia japonica or Z. matrella) or seashore paspalum (Paspalum vaginatum). This gives evidence of conservation of NBS-LRR analogs among the subfamilies Chloridoideae and Panicoideae. Once disease resistance genes are identified, these BRGA and EST markers may be useful in marker-assisted selection for the improvement of disease resistance in bermudagrass.