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Evidence for Heterosis in Italian Ryegrass (<em>Lolium multiflorum</em> Lam.) Based on Inbreeding Depression in F<sub>2</sub> Generation Offspring from Biparental Crosses
- Wang, Junping, Pembleton, Luke W., Cogan, Noel O. I., Forster, John W.
- Agronomy 2016 v.6 no.4
- Lolium multiflorum, crossing, dry matter accumulation, forage grasses, forage yield, genotype, heterosis, inbreeding depression, pasture plants, pastures, phenotypic selection, plant nurseries, progeny, regression analysis, survival rate, sward
- Italian ryegrass is one of the most important temperate forage grasses on a global basis. Improvement of both dry matter yield and quality of herbage have been major objectives of pasture grass breeding over the last century. F<inf>1</inf> and F<inf>2</inf> progeny sets derived from controlled pair-crosses between selected Italian ryegrass genotypes have been evaluated for yield and nutritive quality under field conditions. Linear regression of the performance of F<inf>1</inf> families under sward conditions on parental genotype means in a spaced plant trial was significant for quality characteristics, but not for herbage yield. This result suggests that phenotypic selection of individual plants from spaced plant nursery is feasible for improvement of nutritive quality traits, but not for yield. The presence of significant heterosis within F<inf>1</inf> populations was demonstrated by reduced herbage production in subsequent F<inf>2</inf> populations (generated by one cycle of full-sib mating), an up to 22.1% total herbage yield in fresh weight, and a 30.5% survival rate at the end of the second reproductive cycle. Potential optimal crosses for exploiting such heterosis are discussed, based on construction and the inter-mating of complementary parental pools, for the implementation of a novel F<inf>1</inf> hybrid production strategy.