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Influence of pollen dispersal and mating pattern in domestication of intermediate Wheatgrass, a novel perennial food crop

Citation

Bajgain, Prabin; Brandvain, Yaniv; Anderson, James (2022), Influence of pollen dispersal and mating pattern in domestication of intermediate Wheatgrass, a novel perennial food crop, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.73n5tb2zb

Abstract

Intermediate wheatgrass (IWG) is a perennial forage grass that is currently being domesticated as a grain crop. It is a primarily wind-pollinated outcrossing species and expresses severe inbreeding depression when self-pollinated. Characterization of pollen dispersal, mating parameters, and change in genetic diversity due to pollen movement is currently lacking in IWG. In this study, we examined pollen dispersal in an IWG selection nursery by evaluating 846 progeny from 15 mother plants and traced their parentage to 374 fathers. A set of 2500 genomic loci was used to characterize the population. We assigned paternity to 769 (91%) progeny and the average number of fathers per mother plant was 37, from an average of 56 progeny examined per mother. An extensive number (80%) of pollination events occurred within 10 m of the mother plants. Pollination success was not correlated with trait attributes of the paternal genotypes. Mating system analysis confirmed that IWG is highly out-crossing and inbreeding was virtually absent. Neither genetic diversity nor the genome-estimated trait values of progeny were significantly affected by pollinator distance. The distance of pollinator in an IWG breeding nursery therefore was not found to be a major contributor in maintaining genetic diversity. These findings reveal the pollen dispersal model in IWG for the first time and its effect on genetic diversity, which will be valuable in designing future IWG breeding populations. Information generated and discussed in this study could be applied in understanding gene flow and genetic diversity of other open-pollinated species.

Funding

Minnesota Department of Agriculture

Forever Green Initiative

General Mills Inc

PepsiCo