1. Forage legume germplasm maintenance, characterization and distribution. Over time, seed inventories decline in gene banks due to natural seed aging and seed distributions to support research and breeding efforts. Due to the deregulation of genetically engineered alfalfa, we are also concerned about maintaining the purity of our seed stocks. ARS researchers at the National Temperate Forage Legume Germplasm Resources Unit in Prosser, WA, grew out 205 accessions to pieces of seed stocks, tested seed viability of 160 accessions and gathered over 2,500 observation data. One hundred and sixty new cages were built and we sampled 17 surrounding hay fields around the Prosser regeneration site to monitor for the presence of the Roundup Ready Alfalfa (RRA) transgene. A feasibility study to explore moving our seed increase site to a more isolated location at Central Ferry, WA, determined that seed production is comparable at both sites, but that a new pole barn and greenhouse need to be built to support forage legume regeneration at Central Ferry. In 2012 we distributed 86 trefoil (Lotus), 1492 alfalfa (Medicago), and 173 clover (Trifolium) accessions. Efforts by ARS researchers at Prosser, WA, ensure the temperate forage legume germplasm collection continues to serve as a resource to researchers and breeders around the world.
Greene, S.L., Afonin, A.A., Dzyubenko, E., Dzyubenko, N. 2012. Effective conservation of Medicago Crop Wild Relatives in Russia and neighbouring countries: a gap analysis points the way forward. Agrobiodiversity Conservation: Securing the diversity of Crop Wild Relatives and Landraces. p.82-90.