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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Madison, Wisconsin » Vegetable Crops Research » Research » Research Project #431810

Research Project: Managing Selfing Rates in Alfalfa Seed Production Fields

Location: Vegetable Crops Research

Project Number: 5090-21000-068-03-I
Project Type: Interagency Reimbursable Agreement

Start Date: Sep 1, 2016
End Date: Feb 28, 2021

1) to quantify selfing rate in a variety of alfalfa seed production fields 2) to identify management practices that most affect selfing rate and subsequent inbreeding depression in order to limit the negative impacts of inbreeding in alfalfa seed production fields.

We will select a total of 32 seed production fields, with 16 fields in California (8 in the Imperial Valley and 8 in the Central Valley) and 16 fields in the Pacific Northwest (8 in Washington and 8 in Idaho). The fields will be chosen to represent a range of management practices. We will select fields that vary in at least one of the following criteria: the managed pollinator used, the time when pollinators are brought in and removed from the field, the seeding rate and thinning method, the irrigation type, and fertilizer and insecticide applications. We will record each management criteria for each field and their GPS location. At seed production time, we will collect seeds from 40 randomly selected stems in each field and collect leaves from these stems in order to genotype the parents and offspring in progeny arrays. We will genotype every parent and 8 seeds from 40 stems from each field for a total of 320 seeds per field and 10,240 seeds plus 1280 parents for the experiment. Each seed and leaf will be genotyped at 18 available and variable microsatellite loci. We will estimate the selfing rate in each field and use multivariate regression analyses to examine the management factors that most impact selfing in alfalfa seed production fields.