DNA amplification fingerprinting analysis of bermudagrass (Cynodon): genetic relationships between species and interspecific crosses

G. Caetano-Anollés, L. M. Callahan, P. E. Williams, K. R. Weaver, P. M. Gresshoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We have used DNA amplification fingerprinting (DAF) to study the genetic variation of bermudagrass (Cynodon) species and cultivars of interspecific crosses that exhibit leaf-blade textural characteristics ranging from coarse to fine. Arbitrary octamer primers produced complex and reproducible amplification profiles with high levels of polymorphic DNA. Phylogenetic analysis using parsimony (PAUP) and unweighted pair group cluster analysis using arithmetic means (UPGMA) grouped 13 bermudagrass cultivars into several clusters, including one containing the African-type bermudagrasses (C. transvaalensis) and another containing the common-type bermudagrasses (C. dactylon). The latter group included C. magennissii ('Sunturf') and a interspecific C. transvaalensisx C. dactylon cross ('Midiron'), 2 cultivars that exhibited leaf textural characteristics closer to the common-types. All other C. transvaalensisx C. dactylon crosses grouped between the African and common types. An extended screen of 81 octamer primers was needed to separate cultivar 'Tifway' from the irradiation-induced mutant 'Tifway II'. The use of either template endonuclease digestion prior to amplification or arbitrary mini-hairpin primers increased detection of polymorphic DNA and simplified the task of distinguishing these closely related cultivars. Alternatively, the use of capillary electrophoresis (CE) resolved fingerprints adequately and detected products with high sensitivity, thereby promising to increase throughput and the detection of polymorphic DNA. When used to fingerprint samples from commercial sources, DAF identified bermudagrass plant material on the basis of unique reference profiles generated with selected primers. DAF represents an excellent technique for bermudagrass cultivar verification, seed certification, varietal protection, and for the identification of mistakes in plantings, mislabeled plant materials, and contamination or substitutions of sod fields.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)228-235
Number of pages8
JournalTheoretical and Applied Genetics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • Arbitrary primers
  • Bermudagrass
  • Capillary electrophoresis
  • DAF
  • Genetic relationships

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Genetics


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