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A molecular phylogenetic framework for cocksfoot (Dactylis glomerata L.) improvement

Stewart, Alan V., Ellison, Nicholas W.
Crop & pasture science 2014 v.65 no.8 pp. 780-786
Dactylis glomerata, climate change, cultivars, diploidy, gene banks, genetic variation, germplasm, habitat destruction, introgression, phylogeny, tetraploidy
The recently completed molecular phylogenetic analysis of Dactylis germplasm has provided a clear evolutionary history of the diploid Dactylis from which modern tetraploid germplasm and cultivars have evolved. This framework will allow us to use fully a wider range of both diploid and tetraploid germplasm for a more systematic improvement of cocksfoot. Germplasm of many diploid and tetraploid forms is under serious threat from habitat degradation and climate change, and many forms are currently poorly represented in genebanks. It is critical that a wide range of these forms is collected for storage and conservation. It is also critical that core collections are developed and maintained, using molecular phylogenetic and genetic diversity information as the basic framework. In order to apply molecular resources in an effective and balanced manner, pragmatic field breeding programs need to be continued in all major regions. This is a major concern for cocksfoot, as it is a species with limited international breeding investment. Viable, large-scale, cocksfoot breeding programs must be maintained internationally to allow adequate cultivar development, ongoing germplasm collection, introgression from wild germplasm and application of molecular resources.