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Recurrent selection increases seed germination in little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium)

Tim L. Springer
Euphytica 2017 v.213 no.12 pp. 279
Schizachyrium scoparium, open pollination, plant breeding, rain, recurrent selection, seed germination, seeds, water potential
Rainfall is often inadequate for satisfactory seed germination and emergence under field conditions. This research was designed to improve the seed germination of six experimental populations of little bluestem [Schizachyrium scoparium (Michx.) Nash]. Two cycle of recurrent selection were used to develop Syn-1 and Syn-2 populations from six experimental Syn-0 populations. Cycle 1 consisted of germinating 3500 open-pollinated seeds of each Syn-0 population in water of − 0.8 MPa potential for 7-day. All germinated seeds (approximately 250 for each of the six populations) were selected to create six Syn-1 populations. Cycle 2 selection was similar to Cycle 1, except that Syn-1 populations were used to create six Syn-2 populations. To test the effects of selection, four 50-spikelet samples of the 18 populations were germinated in water of − 0.8 MPa potential for 7-day for two consecutive harvest years. Germination of Syn-1 seeds was 3.7% higher than Syn-0 seeds, and Syn-2 seeds were 16.2% higher than Syn-1 seeds. Thus, it was possible to increase the seed germination of the six little bluestem populations at the water potential used with recurrent selection.