Advances in introgression technologies for precision breeding within the Lolium-Festuca complex

Michael W. Humphreys, P. J. Canter, Huw M. Thomas

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50 Citations (SciVal)


The anticipated complexity of multifunctional grasslands with environment-friendly and sustainable management practices demands better understanding of traits, their interactions, and their genetic control. Intergeneric hybrids between closely related Lolium and Festuca species are being used to broaden the gene pool and provide the plant breeder with options to combine complementary traits aimed at high quality but more robust grass varieties for the future. New techniques in introgression mapping provide opportunities for precision breeding whereby desirable gene combinations transferred from one species into another are selected preferentially, with the exclusion of deleterious alien genes. The close homology between genomes of Lolium and Festuca species allows high levels of chromosome pairing and recombination. Using genomic in situ hybridisation (GISH) on Lolium/Festuca hybrids and their derivatives, recombination between Lolium and Festuca chromosomes is observed at any point along the chromosome. The system provides unlimited access to any combination of Lolium and Festuca DNA sequence. Moreover, genes transferred between homoeologous chromosome sites are expected to function normally at their new locations. Alien chromosome segments may be reduced in size by further recombination events thereby reducing linkage drag. Molecular markers such as AFLPs, SSRs, SNPs, or RFLPs are being targeted to genes of interest to allow their selection through different generations in plant breeding programmes. Relatively simple PCR-based marker systems are used for specific traits as breeders' toolkits in plant breeding programmes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalAnnals of Applied Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2003


  • Introgression-mapping
  • Lolium-Festuca complex
  • molecular markers
  • genomic in situ hybridisation (GISH)
  • precision-breeding


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