70235 Assessment of Genetic Diversity in Napiergrass Using Cross-Species Microsatellite Markers From Pearl Millet.

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Sunday, February 5, 2012
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Raju Kandel1, Hari P. Singh1, Bharat P. Singh1, Karen R. Harris-Shultz2 and William Anderson2, (1)Agricultural Research Station, Fort Valley State University, Fort Valley, GA
(2)USDA ARS, Tifton, GA
Napiergrass (Pennisetum purpureum Schumacher) is an allotetraploid (2n=4x=28) perennial grass originated from Africa and became the most important grass species due to its high biomass yield, ease of propagation and management, high crude protein content, and drought tolerance. Napiergrass is well known to be used for fodder, soil regeneration, mulching and manufacture of paper pulp but due to its rapid growth and degradable biomass characteristics, this grass also has the potential for conversion to alcohol or methane production. The highly heterogeneous and heterozygous genotypes of napiergrass can be utilized for its genetic enhancement and breeding programs. There is a limited information available about pedigree and collection of napiergrass accessions which necessitates the need to study genetic diversity and relationships among species. Absence of a genetic map and napiergrass sequence specific markers has become an obstacle in developing genetic tools and breeding program for napiergrass. This study aims to determine cross-species transferability of microsatellites markers developed from pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum) and their utilization to screen napiergrass genotypes to assess the gentic variability. This paper reports the first comprehensive study involving more than 400 pearl millet microsatellite markers tested on napiergrass. Studies are underway to establish a working protocol for marker amplification and screening. Upon amplification and screening of all the markers, the amplification data will be scored for presence or absence of bands and peaks for each accession. Dice co-efficient will be used to compute a distant matrix between accessions using NTSYS PC 2.01 software. Cluster analysis will be performed using UPGMA strategy to obtain a dendogram. Based on the markers tested thus far a high degree of amplification has been observed for selected markers.