BMC plant biology

Association of SSR markers with functional traits from heat stress in diverse tall fescue accessions.

PMID 25957573


Heat stress is a critical threat to tall fescue in transitional and warm climate zones. Identification of association between molecular markers and heat tolerance-related functional traits would promote the efficient selection of heat tolerant tall fescue cultivars. Association analysis of heat tolerance-related traits was conducted in 100 diverse tall fescue accessions consisting of 93 natural genotypes originating from 33 countries and 7 turf-type commercial cultivars. The panel displayed significant genetic variations in growth rate (GR), turfgrass quality (TQ), survival rate (SR), chlorophyll content (CHL) and evapotranspiration rate (ET) in greenhouse and growth chamber trials. Two subpopulations were detected in the panel of accessions by 1010 SSR alleles with 90 SSR markers, but no obvious relative kinship was observed. 97 and 67 marker alleles associated with heat tolerance-related traits were identified in greenhouse trial and growth chamber trial (P < 0.01) using mix linear model, respectively. Due to different experimental conditions of the two trials, 2 SSR marker alleles associated with GR and ET were simultaneously identified at P < 0.01 level in two trials in response to heat stress. High-temperature induced great variations of functional traits in tall fescue accessions. And the identified marker alleles associated with functional traits could provide important information about heat tolerance genetic pathways, and be used for molecular assisted breeding to enhance tall fescue performance under heat stress.