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This article in CS

  1. Vol. 26 No. 3, p. 514-518
    Received: Nov 5, 1984

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Genetic Variability of Mineral Concentrations in Tall Fescue Grown under Controlled Conditions1

  1. L. R. Reeder,
  2. H. T. Nguyen,
  3. D. A. Sleper and
  4. J. R. Brown2



Altering mineral concentrations of herbage by breeding has been suggested as a means of reducing the grass tetany potential of coolseason forage grasses. Objectives of this research were to: i) determine the genetic variation, heritability, and interrelationships of yield, Mg, Ca, and K concentrations, and the K/(Ca+Mg) ratio in tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.) herbage grown under two controlled temperature regimes and two soil Mg levels in growth chambers, and ii) to determine if any genotype ✕ environment interactions existed under these conditions. Fifteen parental plants of tall fescue were randomly chosen from a genetically broad-based population for use in a polycross mating design. Half-sib families were evaluated for herbage yield, herbage concentrations of Mg, Ca, and K, and the K/(Ca+Mg) ratio for two harvests. Additive genetic variance was significant for all traits. Most genotype ✕ environment interactions were significant, which indicated that plants should be evaluated under different temperatures and levels of soil Mg. Narrow-sense heritability estimates, on a family mean basis, were 77, 75, 79, 89, and 77% for yield, Mg, Ca, and K concentrations, and K/(Ca+Mg) ratio, respectively. Predicted gains from one cycle of phenotypic family selection were 12, 13, 14, 19, and 16% of the base population mean for yield, Mg, Ca, and K concentration, and the K/(Ca+Mg) ratio, respectively. Correlations between Mg and the K/(Ca+Mg) ratio showed that selection for a high Mg concentration would also reduce the ratio, which would be desirable in producing improved populations with reduced grass tetany potential.

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