Expressed sequence tag (EST)-derived simple sequence repeat (ESSR) and single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers are current choice pipelines available to plant breeders for foreground selection in marker-assisted breeding programs because of their direct relevance to agronomic trait(s) of interest, ease of use, co-dominant inheritance, high levels of polymorphism and reasonably even distribution across the genome. Therefore, development of these trait-based "functional" markers is an indispensable tool for the research community in wetlands plants program, especially when these can be targeted at genomic regions known to contribute to the control of economically important, genetically complex traits such as seedling vigor, spread, seed set, abiotic stress tolerance, etc.
Determination of the genetic variation in smooth cordgrass is important for conserving existing populations and their exploitation in revegetation. Molecular investigations into the population structure, gene diversity and genetic relatedness within smooth cordgrass will be of immense value to catalog a genetic fingerprint of an individual and for maintaining and monitoring genetic purity of future released materials. Toward this end, we are taking advantage of the smooth cordgrass transcriptome sequence data to generate trait-based markers for use in marker-assisted breeding to develop superior smooth cordgrass breeding lines for coastal restoration.