Prospective genetic gain to improve salinity tolerance in a population of Panicum coloratum var. coloratum with two different selection methods

Gabriela Pittaro, Mauro Lifschitz, Miguel Sánchez, Dolores Bustos, José Otondo, María Andrea Tomás


Panicum coloratum var. coloratum is a subtropical grass for potentially increasing forage production in lowly productive environments where cattle-raising activities have been relocated. Heritability was estimated for characters related to salinity tolerance under saline and non-saline conditions to explore the possibility of improving tolerance by selection. From a base germplasm collected in a very harsh environment, heritability and gain after selection were calculated using 2 recombination units: individual and phenotypic family mean (PFM). Heritability estimates were very low for all characters both in saline and non-saline conditions, suggesting a complex genetic control of salinity tolerance, with a high proportion of non-additive genetic effects. Estimates were higher using individual selection than with PFM and expected genetic gains were higher for individual selection. When compared in both saline and non-saline conditions, predicted means were greater than for plants of cv. Klein, the most common cultivar in use. It appears that the analyzed germplasm would be a valuable source of genes to be included in breeding programs to increase salinity tolerance in Panicum coloratum.

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