ABSTRACT: Festulolium hybrids are being increasingly used worldwide as forage grasses. This is due to their superior agronomic characteristics, which combine yield performance of ryegrasses (Lolium multiflorum and L. perenne) and tolerance against abiotic stress of fescues (Festuca pratensis, F. arundinacea and F. arundinacea var. glaucescens). Despite the widespread use, only fragmentary information exists on their genomic constitution. We used genomic in situ hybridization (GISH) to analyze genomic constitution of over 600 plants from almost all commercially available cultivars of Festulolium. Our results revealed a surprisingly large range of variation in the proportions of parental genomes and in the extent of intergenomic recombination. Using fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) with probes for ribosomal DNA, we assessed the frequency of recombination and elimination of particular chromosomes and chromosome groups in three contrasting Festulolium cultivars. This study provides novel information that will aid in understanding the relationship between a genetic make-up and the phenotype of Festulolium hybrids. Our results indicate that GISH might be a useful tool to aid in Festulolium breeding and provide data for a more detailed description of registered cultivars.
Theoretical and Applied Genetics 04/2012; 113(4):731-742. · 3.30 Impact Factor