Implementation of molecular markers for triticale cultivar identification and marker-assisted selection
Thesis (MSc)--Stellenbosch University, 2012.
Triticale is an amphidiploid that consists of wheat (A and B) and rye (R) genomes. This cereal is fast becoming important on a commercial basis and warrants further assessment for the better management and breeding of the hybrid. The assessment of the genetic diversity among the wheat and rye genomes within triticale can be obtained by using molecular markers developed in both donor genomes. Simple sequence repeats markers (SSRs) and amplified fragment length markers (AFLPs) have been previously used to assess the genetic diversity among triticale lines. SSRs are highly polymorphic markers that are abundant and which have been shown to be highly transferable between species in previous studies while AFLP markers are known to generate plenty of data as they cover so many loci. Thus, the aim of this study was to develop a marker system suitable to assess the genetic diversity and relationships of advanced breeding material (and cultivars) of the Stellenbosch University’s Plant Breeding Laboratory (SU-PBL). Therefore, both AFLP and SSR markers were initially analysed using eight triticale cultivars (with known pedigrees) to facilitate cultivar identification. Fourty-two AFLP primer combinations and 86 SSR markers were used to assess the genetic diversity among the Elite triticale cultivars. The AFLP primer combinations generated under average polymorphism information content (PIC) values. Furthermore, these markers generated neighbour-joining (NJ) and unweighted pair group method with arithmetic average (UPGMA) dendograms that displayed relationships that did not correspond with the available pedigree information. Therefore, this marker system was found not to be suitable. A set of 86 SSRs previously identified in both wheat and rye, was used to test the genetic diversity among the eight cultivars. The markers developed in wheat achieved 84% transferability while those developed in rye achieved 79.3% transferability. A subset of SSR markers was able to distinguish the cultivars, and correctly identify them by generating NJ and UPGMA dendograms that exhibited relationships that corroborated the available pedigree data. This panel of markers was therefore chosen as the most suitable for the assessment of the advanced breeding material. The panel of seven SSR markers was optimised for semi-automated analysis and was used to screen and detect the genetic diversity among 306 triticale entries in the F6, Senior and Elite phases of the SU-PBL triticale breeding programme. An average PIC value of 0.65 was detected and moderate genetic variation was observed. NJ and UPGMA dendograms generated showed no clear groupings. However, the panel of markers managed to accurately identify all cultivars within the breeding program. The marker panel developed in this study is being used to routinely distinguish among the advanced breeding material within the SU-PBL triticale breeding programme and as a tool in molecular-assisted backcross.