Study : Genetic diversity of Miscanthus in eastern Russia
Genetic diversity of Miscanthus in eastern Russia
Miscanthus is a genus of perennial C4 grasses native to East Asia, including the emerging ligno-cellulosic biomass crop M. ×giganteus, a hybrid between M. sinensis and M. sacchariflorus. Cold tolerance is a trait of particular interest in Miscanthus, given that Miscanthus is more temperate adapted than its C4 relatives maize, sorghum, and sugarcane. Here we provide genetic data from a germplasm collection from eastern Russia, at the northern extreme of the native range of Miscanthus. M. sinensis was found in maritime climates near Vladivostok (43.6° N) and in southern Sakhalin (46.6° N). M. sacchariflorus was found inland at latitudes as high as 49.3° N, where M. sinensis was absent. Most M. sacchariflorus was diploid, but ~2% were tetraploids. RAD-seq SNPs and plastid microsatellites revealed very little population structure within the Russian collection of M. sacchariflorus. Genome-wide association analysis revealed significant SNP-trait associations with number of stems per unit area and stem diameter, measured at the collection site, in M. sacchariflorus. Given the plummeting cost of SNP genotyping using sequence-based methods, preliminary genome-wide association analysis may become routine for new germplasm collections, and will aid in the choice of accessions for breeding and further characterization. Our germplasm collection will be useful for breeding Miscanthus and sugarcane cultivars with improved adaptation to cold.