Nancy Ehlke, Professor, Agronomy & Plant Genetics
The use of native plant species in roadside revegetation and prairie landscapes associated with Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) projects has the potential to confer numerous ecological and transportation system design benefits. However, the informed use of these species is constrained by a lack of knowledge of the genetic diversity present in native stands of these species in Minnesota and the adaptability of these species to different ecoregions of Minnesota. Information about the role of genetic diversity in adaptation of native species to diverse ecoregions in not-known. The procurement of seed of native species by MnDOT is currently restricted to an extremely narrow geographical area surrounding transportation revegetation projects. The DNA fingerprinting genetic information obtained from this project will provide MnDOT with the tools to determine the appropriate geographical distances for obtaining seed stocks and the ability to verify the seed obtained is an appropriate ecotype suitable to the transportation revegetation site.