Flowering time is a trait which has a major influence on the quality of forage. In addition, flowering and subsequent seed yields are important traits for seed production by grass breeders. In this study, we have identified quantitative trait loci (QTL) for flowering time and morphological traits of the flowering head in an F1 mapping population in Lolium perenne L (perennial ryegrass), a number of which have not previously been identified in L. perenne mapping studies. QTL for days to heading (DTH) were mapped in both outdoor and glasshouse experiments, revealing three and five QTL for DTH which explained 53% and 42% of the total phenotypic variation observed, respectively. Two QTL for DTH were detected in both environments, although they had contrasting relative magnitudes in each environment. One QTL for spike length and three QTL for spikelets per spike were also identified explaining, a total of 32 and 33% of the phenotypic variance, respectively. Furthermore, the QTL for spike length and spikelets per spike generally coincided with QTL for days to heading, implying co-ordinate regulation by underlying genes. Of particular interest was a region harbouring overlapping QTL for days to heading, spike length and spikelets per spike on the top of linkage group 4, containing the major QTL for spike length identified in this population.
- Lolium perenne, QTL, Days to heading, Spike length, Spikelets per spike