Combining Abilities of Creeping Foxtail Parents Selected for Seed Retention
Creeping foxtail (Alopecurus arundinaceus Poir.), a strongly rhizomatous, cool-season perennial grass native to Eurasia, has great forage and conservation potential in wetlands and mountain meadows throughout the northern USA and adjacent Canadian provinces. The objective of this study was to determine general (GCA) and specific (SCA) combining ability for vegetative and reproductive traits of six parents previously selected for seed retention. Fifteen diallel progenies were evaluated in a spaced-plant nursery at Brookings, SD, in 1972 and 1973. Significant differences were found among parents for GCA effects for leafiness, plant height, seed yield of five panicles, and seed set. Specific combining ability effects were consistently much lower than GCA effects, even though parents varied significantly in SCA for all variables except plant height in 1973. Parents capable of transmitting either desirable height or seed set characteristics to their progeny were identified, but parents with high GCA for all the vegetative and reproductive traits measured were not obtained from this selected group. Based on the magnitude of GCA relative to SCA effects, recurrent selection should result in a gain for forage and seed production in this species.
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