GRASSES (Festuca-Lolium complex)

Grasses are among the most important and widely cultivated crops. Among them, ryegrasses (Lolium spp.) and fescues (Festuca spp.) provide high quality fodder for livestock, are used for turf and amenity purposes, and play a fundamental role in environment protection. Species from the two genera display complementary agronomic characteristics and are often grown in mixtures. Breeding efforts to combine desired features in single entities culminated with the production of Festuca × Lolium hybrids. The so called Festuloliums enjoy a considerable commercial success with numerous cultivars registered all over the world.


We sorted and sequenced (Illumina/Solexa) chromosome 4F of Festuca pratensis

The main aim of our research is:



Analysis of genome composition in Festuca × Lolium hybrids (Festulolium)

We analyzed large set of Festulolium cultivars using GISH (genomic in situ hybridization). This method enables vizualization of parental chromatin in intergeneric (interspecific) hybrids.



Analysis of chromosome pairing and recombination

We analyzed chromosome pairing in allohexaploid F. arundinacea, its progenitors F. pratensis and F. glaucescens, and intergeneric hybrids L. multiflorum (2x) × F. arundinacea (6x) and L. multiflorum (4x) × F. glaucescens (4x).



Androgenesis in vitro

We used androgenesis in vitro to reduce ploidy level in tetraploid hybrids (L. multiflorum × F. pratensis and L. perenne × F. pratensis) and tetraploid L. multiflorum. Obtained diploids have higher potential to be used as turf breeding material.



Cytogenetic mapping

Using BAC clones and rDNAs, we have initiated the project on the identification of individual chromosomes of F. pratensis using cytogenetic markers. We identified 1G18 BAC clone and two rDNAs (45S-rDNA and 5S-rDNA) which enable the identification of all seven F. pratensis chromosomes.



Development of introgression and recombinant lines

In collaboration with Prof. Adam J. Lukaszewski (University of California, Riverside, USA), we developed single chromosome substitutions of F. pratensis Huds. into tetraploid L. multiflorum Lam. cv. ‘Mitos’.



Development of partial BAC library

We have developed partial F. pratensis (cv. LAURA) BAC library. This library involves 21888 clones (HindIII cloning site) with average insert size ~95 kb representing 1x genome coverage.



Development and use of DArTFest Array

With the aim to facilitate high-throughput genome profiling and genetic mapping within the complex, we have developed a Diversity Arrays Technology (DArT) array for five important species: F. pratensis, F. arundinacea, F. glaucescens, L. perenne and L. multiflorum. The DArTFest array contains 7680 probes derived from methyl-filtered genomic representations.



Estimation of genome size

Nuclear genome size was estimated by flow cytometer in several grass species, mainly from Festuca-Lolium complex.