Fine mapping of perennial ryegrass quantitative trait loci for biomass heterosis using comparative genomics and molecular cytogenetics

The Walsh Fellow, a PhD student, is working in a collaboration between Dr Susanne Barth/Teagasc (The Irish Agriculture and
Food Development Authority) Oak Park Research Laboratories, Carlow (project page at Teagasc), and Pat Heslop-Harrison and Trude Schwarzacher/University of Leicester.

The project is the fine genetic mapping of quantitative trait loci in Lolium (ryegrass), identifying genes or genomic regions related to biomass heterosis, exploiting a large, well-characterized mapping population and a genome-scan. Methods used will be fine mapping of selected chromosomal regions of three ryegrass chromosomes using SSR and RFLP markers. Synteny relationships among the grasses for these regions will be established using the Triticeae RFLP marker anchor set. From flow sorted BAC libraries clones will be picked using anchored RFLP markers as probes and chromosomal breakpoints identified using fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) with these probes. This will link the physical and genetic maps for these regions.

Outcomes of the research of this project will be (1) the identification of molecular markers linked to dry weight biomass to aid the breeding selection process in early cycles and (2) will give more insights in syntenic relationships among the grasses and will give ideas how chromosomal rearrangements contribute to the expression of important phenotypes like heterosis for biomass yield.

This is a collaborative project between Teagasc Crops Research Centre Oak Park in Carlow/Ireland and The University of Leicester/UK.

Lolium - Fescue trial plots at Carlow


The project is supported by a Walsh Fellowship from Teagasc.

For details of the Walsh Fellowship scheme and current opportunities please see