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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Madison, Wisconsin » U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center » Dairy Forage Research » Research » Research Project #433249

Research Project: Developing Regionally Adapted, Resilient Alfalfa Germplasm Pools

Location: Dairy Forage Research

Project Number: 5090-12210-001-01-R
Project Type: Reimbursable Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Oct 1, 2017
End Date: Aug 31, 2020

The objectives of this project are to: 1) expand the alfalfa elite breeding pool genetic base by breeding germplasm out of material from the USDA National Plant Germplasm System collection; and 2) determine how unique and diverse selected material is compared to the U.S. elite alfalfa breeding pool for neutral genomic regions, as well as putative agronomically important genomic regions.

Four temperate adapted populations will be created and evaluated from germplasm collected from Eastern Europe and Western Russia, Siberia and Mongolia, Central Asia, and Turkey and Balkan regions of Europe. Populations created through selection will be evaluated in temperate U.S. climates. Selected materials will be released as publicly available germplasms. The four selected populations will be analyzed using DNA markers and compared to a collection of elite U.S. alfalfa cultivars. DNA markers will be derived from random loci across the alfalfa genome, as well as from specific loci associated with improved agronomic performance. Genetic diversity comparisons between elite and selected material will be made, based on both types of DNA markers.