Gene flow between jointed goatgrass and winter wheat is a concern because transfer of herbicide-resistance genes from imidazolinone-resistant (IR) winter wheat cultivars to jointed goatgrass could restrict weed-management options for this serious weed of winter wheat cropping systems. The objectives of this study were (1) to investigate the frequency of interspecific hybridization between IR wheat and jointed goatgrass in eastern Colorado, and (2) to determine the gene action of the IR acetolactate synthase (ALS) allele in IR wheat by jointed goatgrass and in IR wheat by imidazolinone-susceptible (IS) wheat backgrounds. Jointed goatgrass was sampled side-by-side with IR wheat and at distances up to 53 m away in both experimental plots and at commercial field study sites in 2003, 2004, and 2005. A greenhouse-screening method was used to identify IR hybrids in collected jointed goatgrass seed. The average percentage of hybridization across sites and years when IR wheat and jointed goatgrass were grown side-by-side was 0.1%, and the maximum was 1.6%. The greatest distance over which hybridization was documented was 16 m. The IR ALS allele contributed 25% of untreated ALS activity in jointed goatgrass by IR wheat F1 plants, as measured by an in vitro ALS assay. The hybridization rate between wheat and jointed goatgrass and the expression of the IR wheat ALS allele in hybrid plants will both influence trait introgression into jointed goatgrass.
Nomenclature: Jointed goatgrass, Aegilops cylindrica Host AEGCY; hard red winter wheat, Triticum aestivum L. ‘Above’, ‘Bond’, ‘Prairie Red’, ‘Halt’.