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Genetic analysis of drought tolerance in perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) with phenological, physiological and molecular differentiation method. Subproject 2 (DRYeGRASS)


Project code: 2818208615, 5788
Contract period: 01.09.2016 - 31.08.2019
Budget: 344,949 Euro
Purpose of research: Applied research

Perennial ryegrass as one of the most important forage grass species in Germany will be particularly affected by global climate change. It has no distinct drought tolerance, therefor competitiveness as well as yield will decline in areas impacted by summer drought. In previous studies, variation for the trait 'drought tolerance” could be found in perennial ryegrass, which can be used for breeding new varieties. The aim of the project is to improve the trait 'drought tolerance” in an efficient way assisted by innovative methods. The outcome of this study will enable breeders to develop new perennial ryegrass varieties faster and in a more efficient way. These new varieties will be better adapted to the constraints arising with global climate change. As preliminary work, segregating crossing populations were developed, that are available at the begin of the project. This material is the nucleus of the project work and will be investigated for phenotypic and physiological methods as well as for the underlying genetical mechanisms. Data from observations under natural (field trials) and controlled conditions (rain-out shelter) will be combined with data from molecular genetic analysis. This enables a comprehensive view of the drought response of a perennial forage grass species and will give insights into the complex structure of the inheritance of drought tolerance. Based on these results genomic regions, responsible for drought tolerance could be identified. In future breeding projects these regions can be selected and combined more easily by molecular markers. Metabolic pathways of the drought response can be characterized by recording the plant metabolome. New biomarkers will be identified that will enable to draw conclusions on the drought response by measuring the composition of plant compounds.

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