Paspalum vaginatum, seashore paspalum, is a highly salt tolerant turfgrass. It is increasingly used as a sustainable grass on golf courses due to its tolerance to irrigation with brakish water. We inititated a project to unravel the mechanims of salt tolerance in seashore paspalum. In first instance, the USDA collection and breeding lines from UGA (~100 accessions) will be analyzed with simple sequence repeats to determine the amount of genetic diversity present in the germplasm collection. Because seashore paspalum occurs in multiple ploidy forms, flow cytometric analysis will be carried out to determine the ploidy level of each accession. The accessions will be screened for salt tolerance to identify two lines that differ in their salt response. These lines will be used as parents to generate a pseudo F1 mapping population. The F1 progeny will be mapped using genotyping-by-sequencing, and subjected to a salt screen. Leaf Na content, total biomass, plant height and stolon number will be measured and used for QTL analysis. In addition, a transcriptome analysis will be carried out from leaves and roots under different salt regimes. The aim is to identify QTL and, potentially, candidate genes that are involved in the control of salt tolerance.
Douglas Eudy (NSF Graduate Research Fellow) - Institute for Plant Breeding, Genetics and Genomics, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, USA