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International Journal of Agronomy
Volume 2011, Article ID 349240, 6 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2011/349240
Research Article

Agronomic Evaluation and Genetic Variation of Tunisian Tall Fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.)

1Laboratoire de Génétique Moléculaire, Immunologie et Biotechnologie, Faculté des Sciences de Tunis, Campus Universitaire, El Manar, Tunis 2092, Tunisia
2Laboratoire des Productions Animales et Fourragères, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique de Tunisie, Rue Hédi Karray, Ariana 2049, Tunisia

Received 11 March 2011; Accepted 13 May 2011

Academic Editor: Tom Stalker

Copyright © 2011 N. Chtourou-Ghorbel et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Nine important agronomic traits were used to assess the genetic diversity of Tunisian tall fescue and to investigate the extent of genotype X environment (GE) interaction and its implications for breeding programs. These traits were studied for three consecutive years in thirty-five spontaneous populations and three cultivars. Panicle size contributed to seeds production, while the plant height at harvest and dry matter yield were selected for forage performance. Analysis of variance demonstrated that population attitude depended on the year and environmental conditions. Principal component analysis revealed significant similarities among some spontaneous populations and cultivars. The relationship between environmental conditions and agronomic traits revealed the influence of altitude, soil texture and minimum temperature on forage production, seed yield, and the architecture of plants, respectively. In addition, the local adapted ecotypes originating from Bizerte, Sidi Nsir, and Rass Rajel attained greater agronomic potentialities than control cultivars and were of considerable economic interest for the improvement of Tunisian tall fescue.