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Home > Protecting Our Lands & Waters > Clean Water Fund > Forever Green Initiative > IWG Breeding Support

Intermediate Wheatgrass Breeding Support using Phenotypic and Genotypic-based Selection Methods

Principal Investigator:
James Anderson, Professor
Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics

Project Summary

Intermediate wheatgrass (IWG) is a perennial forage crop that produces large biomass and shows great potential to be developed as a grain crop. IWG has received considerable interest from growers and end-users and improved germplasm will help ensure the initial success of this new crop. Plant breeding is being revolutionized by DNA marker technologies and we are applying this technology in the wheatgrass breeding program.  

Goals and Objectives: 
The objectives of this research are to:

  1. Improve grain yield, seed size, threshability, shattering and plant height of IWG materials through a cycle of selection.
  2. Assess the effectiveness of genomic selection with DNA markers to improve seed size, grain yield and other agronomic traits in IWG.

Approach and Methodology:  The 3rd cycle of our breeding program will be initiated during this grant period by crossing the 50 best plants from Cycle 2 and growing their progeny in the field for evaluation in the 2017 growing season.  The 50 best space plants with large seed size, high seed yield and other superior agronomic traits will be selected for polycrossing in the greenhouse.  DNA marker data, in combination with field performance will be used to develop genomic selection models for seed size, grain yield, plant height, threshability, shattering and head weight. These models will be tested in 2017. 

Anticipated Outcomes:  Deliverables include: 1) improved IWG germplasm that can be used to constitute new varieties; and 2) genomic selection based breeding methods that can be used to accelerate IWG breeding progress.

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