Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/21/2010
Publication Date: 11/17/2010
Citation: Vance, C.P. 2010. Alfalfa genomics: importance to sustainability and ecological services [abstract]. In: 2010 Minnesota Forage Research Symposium, November 17-18, 2010, St. Cloud, Minnesota. p. 9.
Technical Abstract: The use of genomic approaches has the potential to impact alfalfa improvement for any number of traits. We have focused on using genomic and molecular approaches to understand how symbiotic nitrogen fixation, acclimation to phosphorus stress, and cell wall synthesis processes are regulated in alfalfa. Using gene chips and high throughput sequencing of gene transcripts, we identified genes that are specific for root nodules and those involved in acclimation to phosphorus deficiency. More recently genes related to cell wall formation have been identified. Addressing these processes in alfalfa is important as we face: 1) increasing costs of nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizer; 2) depleting non-renewable resources; and 3) energy insecurity. Nitrogen and phosphorus are a conundrum because if one uses too much, there is potential for water pollution. However, in certain parts of the world nitrogen and phosphorus are unavailable for adequate crop growth. Lastly, the most prominent crops aimed for biofuel use need nitrogen fertilizer and that need has been omitted from the biofuel discussion.