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Crop Science Abstract - REVIEW & INTERPRETATION

Recent Molecular and Genomic Studies on Stress Tolerance of Forage and Turf Grasses


This article in CS

  1. Vol. 46 No. 2, p. 497-511
    Received: Sept 27, 2004

    * Corresponding author(s): mian.3@osu.edu
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  1. Y. Zhanga,
  2. M. A. R. Mian *b and
  3. J. H. Boutona
  1. a The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, Inc., 2510 Sam Noble Parkway, Ardmore, Oklahoma, 73401
    b USDA-ARS, 1680 Madison Avenue, Wooster, OH 44691


Improvement in stress tolerance of forage and turf grasses is a major breeding goal. Most forage and some turf grasses are grown on marginal lands under stressful environments with minimal inputs. In contrast, current high-input turf grass production systems such as golf courses and lawns are expensive and often environmentally unfriendly. Cultivars with improved stress tolerance are necessary for the development of sustainable and environmentally friendly production systems. Until recently, decades of breeding and selection have resulted in limited improvements of stress tolerance of forage and turf grass species. Recent developments in molecular and genomic sciences suggest new methods to improve stress tolerance in many plants, but compared to major crop plants (e.g., rice [Oryza sativa L.], wheat [Triticum spp.], and maize [Zea mays L.]), the development of molecular and genomic resources for forage and turf grasses has been limited. In this review, we present an overview of recent molecular and genomic studies aimed at improving stress tolerance of forage and turf grasses, including endophyte grass interactions. Important molecular and genomic resources are now available for some forage and turf grasses, including ryegrasses (Lolium spp.) and fescues (Festuca spp.). Noteworthy progress is being made in improvements of both biotic and abiotic stress tolerances of these grasses, but the challenge is to simplify and streamline the molecular tools and new discoveries for cost-effective and efficient application in forage and turf grass breeding. Stress tolerances of many forage and turf grasses are influenced by their mutualistic association with Neotyphodium spp. endophytes, and this area of research is discussed.

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