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Phenotypic and genotypic variation within populations of kikuyu (Pennisetum clandestinum) in Australia.

Lowe, K.F., Bowdler, T.M., Holton, T.A. and Skabo, S.J. (2010) Phenotypic and genotypic variation within populations of kikuyu (Pennisetum clandestinum) in Australia. Tropical Grasslands, 44 . pp. 84-94.



Experiments at 2 sites in subtropical eastern Australia investigated the variation in agronomic attributes, quality and genetic structure existing within: naturally-occurring populations of kikuyu ( Pennisetum clandestinum) from within Australia; selections produced from the treatment of Whittet seed with mutagenic chemicals; and available cultivars. Runners were collected from coastal areas extending from Western Australia to the Atherton Tableland in north Queensland. One experiment evaluated 10 mutagenic selections and 4 cultivars in a lattice design and the other evaluated 12 ecotypes and 3 cultivars in a randomised block design. The experimental unit was single plants, which were sown on a 1.5 m grid into a weed-free seed-bed (Mutdapilly) or a killed kikuyu stand (Wollongbar), both of which were kept clear of weeds and other kikuyu plants for the duration of the experiments. Foliage height, forage production and runner yield were assessed. Leaf material was analysed for concentrations of crude protein (CP), acid detergent fibre (ADF) and neutral detergent fibre (NDF) and for in vitro dry matter digestibility (IVDDM) in autumn, winter and spring. DNA was extracted from each plant in the ecotype comparison and subjected to a modified DAF (DNA amplification fingerprinting) analysis to determine the level of genetic relatedness.

In the first experiment, none of the mutagenic lines derived from Whittet yielded significantly more or was more digestible than commercial Whittet material, although some selections were superior to the other commercial kikuyu cultivars, Noonan and Crofts, and 'common' kikuyu. However, there were significant differences in plant height and runner expansion. In the second experiment, significant differences in plant height, foliage yield, runner development, and leaf CP, ADF, NDF and IVDDM concentrations were demonstrated between the ecotypes, mutagenic selections and cultivars. There was a 4- to 6-fold difference in plant yield and a 6- to 10-fold difference in runner production between the ecotypes at the 2 sites. Quality of the leaf ranged from 200 to 270 g/kg (CP), from 700 to 770 g/kg (IVDDM), from 170 to 250 g/kg (ADF) and from 470 to 550 g/kg (NDF). Improvements in quality and agronomic attributes were not mutually exclusive. Genetic fingerprint analysis of the kikuyu lines indicated that they formed 2 broad groupings. Most of the regional ecotypes were grouped with 'common' kikuyu as represented by the material collected from Wollongbar, and the Beechmont, Atherton Tableland and Gympie ecotypes were grouped with the registered cultivars Whittet, Noonan and Crofts. Two lines produced by mutagenesis from Whittet remained closely linked to Whittet. These results suggest that there was variation between populations of kikuyu in yield, quality and genetic diversity but that mutagenesis by treating seed with sodium azide and diethylene sulphide did not achieve a significant change in the digestibility of leaf over cv. Whittet.

Item Type:Article
Business groups:Animal Science
Additional Information:Reproduced with permission © Tropical Grassland Society of Australia.
Keywords:Agronomic characteristics; chemical composition; crude protein; cultivars; ecotypes; foliage; genetic analysis; genetic diversity; genetic variation; genotypes; in vitro digestibility; leaves; mutagenesis; mutagens; phenotypes; phenotypic variation; plant composition; plant height; acid detergent fibre; neutral detergent fibre; Australia.
Subjects:Animal culture > Rangelands. Range management. Grazing
Science > Botany > Genetics
Science > Biology > Genetics
Live Archive:27 Sep 2011 03:39
Last Modified:12 Jan 2023 03:23

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