Detection of favorable alleles for plant height and crown rust tolerance in three connected populations of perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.)

Theor Appl Genet. 2012 Apr;124(6):1139-53. doi: 10.1007/s00122-011-1775-5. Epub 2012 Jan 11.


Plant height, which is an estimator of vegetative yield, and crown rust tolerance are major criteria for perennial ryegrass breeding. Genetic improvement has been achieved through phenotypic selection but it should be speeded up using marker-assisted selection, especially in this heterozygous species suffering from inbreeding depression. Using connected multiparental populations should increase the diversity studied and could substantially increase the power of quantitative trait loci (QTL) detection. The objective of this study was to detect the best alleles for plant height and rust tolerance among three connected populations derived from elite material by comparing an analysis per parent and a multipopulation connected analysis. For the studied traits, 17 QTL were detected with the analysis per parent while the additive and dominance models of the multipopulation connected analysis made it possible to detect 33 and 21 QTL, respectively. Favorable alleles have been detected in all parents. Only a few dominance effects were detected and they generally had lower values than the additive effects. The additive model of the multipopulation connected analysis was the most powerful as it made it possible to detect most of the QTL identified in the other analyses and 11 additional QTL. Using this model, plant growth QTL and rust tolerance QTL explained up to 19 and 38.6% of phenotypic variance, respectively. This example involving three connected populations is promising for an application on polycross progenies, traditionally used in breeding programs. Indeed, polycross progenies actually are a set of several connected populations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alleles*
  • Basidiomycota / growth & development
  • Basidiomycota / pathogenicity*
  • Breeding
  • Chromosome Mapping / methods
  • Chromosomes, Plant / genetics
  • Crosses, Genetic
  • DNA, Plant / genetics
  • Disease Resistance*
  • Genetic Markers
  • Lolium / genetics*
  • Lolium / immunology
  • Lolium / microbiology
  • Phenotype
  • Quantitative Trait Loci*


  • DNA, Plant
  • Genetic Markers