Plant morphology, genome size, and SSR markers differentiate five distinct taxonomic groups among accessions in the genus Miscanthus

Won Byoung Chae, Sae Jin Hong, Justin M. Gifford, A. Lane Rayburn, Erik J. Sacks, John A. Juvik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Information on genome size, ploidy level, and genomic polymorphisms among accessions of the genus Miscanthus can assist in taxonomic studies, help understand the evolution of the genus, and provide valuable information to biomass crop improvement programs. Taxonomic investigation combining variation in plant morphology, genome size, chromosome numbers, and simple sequence repeat (SSR) marker polymorphisms were applied to characterize 101 Miscanthus accessions. A total of 258 amplicons generated from 17 informative SSR primer pairs was subjected to cluster and principal coordinate analysis and used to characterize genetic variation and relationships among 31 Miscanthus accessions, including four interspecific Miscanthus hybrids created from controlled pollinations, and four Saccharum, six Erianthus, and one Sorghum bicolor accessions. Miscanthus accessions were distinct from accessions in the genera Erianthus and Saccharum. Miscanthus accessions fell into five taxonomic groups, including the existing taxonomic section Miscanthus, diploid and tetraploid Miscanthus sacchariflorus, and a fourth (M. × giganteus) and fifth group (Miscanthus 'purpurascens'); the last two being intermediate forms. In contrast to previous work, our findings suggest diploid and tetraploid M. sacchariflorus are taxonomically different, the latter more closely related to M. sacchariflorus var lutarioriparius. We also suggest that Miscanthus 'purpurascens' accessions are interspecific hybrids between Miscanthus sinensis and diploid M. sacchariflorus based on DNA content and SSR polymorphisms. The evolution of Miscanthus and related genera is discussed based on combined analysis and geographical origin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)646-660
Number of pages15
JournalGCB Bioenergy
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2014


  • Bioenergy crops
  • Nuclear DNA content
  • Plant evolution
  • Polyploidy
  • SSR polymorphisms
  • Saccharinae

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Waste Management and Disposal


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