Centipedegrass (Eremochloa ophiuroides (Munro) Hack.) has great potential as a low-input turf within the U. S. because of its lower management requirements and its tolerance to an array of environmental stresses. Only a handful of centipedegrass cultivars have been released to date, however. This is mainly due to limited morphological variation present in U. S. centipedegrass germplasm. With the objective of broadening the genetic base of this species, a germplasm collection trip was conducted in seven Chinese provinces in 1999. Although the resulting accessions exhibited morphological variation for a number of traits, little is known about levels of molecular variability in these accessions or how those levels compare to diversity in materials previously present in the U. S. Sequence-related amplified polymorphism (SRAP) markers were used in the current study to investigate these issues. Eleven primer combinations yielded 279 scored fragments. Genetic diversity, in terms of number of alleles and Dice similarity values, was highest in the Henan and U. S. groups. AMOVA indicated that while both the among and within components of variance were significant (P < 0.0001), most of the variation (94%) could be explained by differences within groups. The PCO plot showed large differences in levels of diversity in all groups evaluated. Overall, our results indicate that while the U. S. collection had high levels of diversity compared to other groups, there are alleles in the Chinese groups not represented in the U. S. collection. These materials could represent additional sources of variation to be used in centipedegrass cultivar development programs.
- Eremochloa ophiuroides (Munro) Hack.
- Genetic diversity
- Germplasm collection
- SRAP markers