Development of tests to determine genetic and other quality traits

Research projects in this area focus on traits that define the value of seeds in the market, particularly for seeds produced or used in Oregon.

Completed Projects

  • Studies on the use of flow cytometry to distinguish between diploid and tetraploid ryegrass. The study demonstrated a perfect agreement between this method and the chromosome count technique. Currently, the ploidy by cytometry method is being used for seed testing, certification, and breeding programs for selection of pure diploid/tetraploid breeder seeds, and other applications.
  • Differentiation of subspecies of fine fescues and other plant species with different chromosome numbers. For example, the flow cytometer can differentiate between strong creeping fescue (56 chromosomes), chewings fescue (42 chromosomes), and sheep fescue (28 chromosomes). 
  • Validation of Clearfield Wheat Bioassay to detect the tolerance to the herbicide imazamox. Currently, the OSU Seed Laboratory is accredited to perform this test and is providing official testing services.
  • Studies on the use of immunoblot assay in detecting endophyte in tall fescue and ryegrass as an alternative to the microscopic method. Also, studies on the use of ELISA in detecting the toxic alkaloid (ergovaline) in tall fescue have been completed and submitted for publication. The immunoblot assay method is currently being used for endophyte testing of grass seeds.

Interests and opportunities for new projects

  • Validation of bioassay protocols for varieties with GMO traits. Testing is done as part of risk assessment for seed products. Tests can be conducted under contract for seed companies that work in this area.
  • Applications of ploidy by cytometry method to determine ploidy levels and differentiate between species with different chromosome numbers in any species.
  • Validation of DNA based test to differentiate Annual ryegrass (L. multiflorum) present as a contaminant in Perennial ryegrass (L. perenne) samples.