Molecular tagging of a senescence gene by introgression mapping of a stay-green mutation from Festuca pratensis

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Intergeneric hybrids between Lolium multiflorum and Festuca pratensis (Lm/Fp) and their derivatives exhibit a unique combination of genetic and cytogenetic characteristics: chromosomes undergo a high frequency of homoeologous recombination at meiosis; the chromosomes of the two species can easily be discriminated by genomic in situ hybridization (GISH); recombination occurs along the entire length of homoeologous bivalents; a high frequency of marker polymorphism is observed between the two species. This combination of characters has been used to transfer and isolate a F. pratensis chromosome segment carrying a mutant 'stay-green' gene conferring a disrupted leaf senescence phenotype into L. multiflorum. The genetic location within the introgressed F. pratensis segment of the senescence gene has been mapped using amplified fragment length polymorphisms (AFLPs), and F. pratensis-specific AFLP markers closely flanking the green gene have been cloned. The use of these cloned sequences as markers for the stay-green locus in marker-assisted selection programmes has been tested. The potential application of Lm/Fp introgressions as a tool for the map-based cloning of introgressed Fp genes is discussed.