Identification of perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne (L.)) and meadow fescue (Festuca pratensis (Huds.)) candidate orthologous sequences to the rice Hd1(Se1) and barley HvCO1 CONSTANS-like genes through comparative mapping and microsynteny

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Microsynteny with rice and comparative genetic mapping were used to identify candidate orthologous sequences to the rice Hd1(Se1) gene in Lolium perenne and Festuca pratensis. A F. pratensis bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) library was screened with a marker (S2539) physically close to Hd1 in rice to identify the equivalent genomic region in F. pratensis. The BAC sequence was used to identify and map the same region in L. perenne. Predicted protein sequences for L. perenne and F. pratensis Hd1 candidates (LpHd1 and FpHd1) indicated they were CONSTANS-like zinc finger proteins with 61–62% sequence identity with rice Hd1 and 72% identity with barley HvCO1. LpHd1 and FpHd1 were physically linked in their respective genomes (<4 kb) to marker S2539, which was mapped to L. perenne chromosome 7. The identified candidate orthologues of rice Hd1 and barley HvCO1 in L. perenne and F. pratensis map to chromosome 7, a region of the L. perenne genome which has a degree of conserved genetic synteny both with rice chromosome 6, which contains Hd1, and barley chromosome 7H, which contains HvCO1.