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Research Project: Genetic Improvement and Cropping Systems of Alfalfa for Livestock Utilization, Environmental Protection and Soil Health

Location: Plant Science Research

Title: A fast and robust genotyping platform for alfalfa breeding

item ZHAO, DONGYAN - Cornell University
item MEJIA-GUERRA, KATHERINE - Cornell University
item MOLLINARI, MARCELO - North Carolina State University
item Samac, Deborah - Debby
item Irish, Brian
item HELLER-USZYNSKA, KASIA - Diversity Arrays Technology
item BEIL, CRAIG - Cornell University
item SHEEHAN, MOIRA - Cornell University

Submitted to: Genetic Resources
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/26/2023
Publication Date: 10/13/2023
Citation: Zhao, D., Mejia-Guerra, K., Mollinari, M., Samac, D.A., Irish, B.M., Heller-Uszynska, K., Beil, C., Sheehan, M. 2023. A fast and robust genotyping platform for alfalfa breeding. Genetic Resources. 4(8):55-63.

Interpretive Summary: Resources for alfalfa to use modern breeding methods has lagged behind other crops. To meet this need, Breeding Insight partnered with USDA-ARS to develop inexpensive DNA markers that can be used in any genetic background. A set of 3,000 markers were developed using a broad set of alfalfa types that are evenly distributed among the eighth alfalfa chromosomes. The markers were shown to function as anticipated in constructing genetic linkage maps. The markers are available to the alfalfa research community for accelerating alfalfa improvement through marker assisted selection and genomic selection methods.

Technical Abstract: Small public breeding programs have many barriers to adopting technology, particularly creating, and using genetic marker panels for genomic-based decisions in selection. Here we report the creation of a DArTag panel of 3,000 loci distributed across the alfalfa genome for use in molecular breeding and genomic prediction. The creation of this marker panel brings cost-effective and rapid genotyping capabilities to small, public breeding programs. The open access provided by this platform will allow genetic data sets generated on the marker panel to be compared and joined across projects, institutions, and countries. This genotyping resource has the power to bring genotyping equity to small-scale breeders in alfalfa. This is the first installment of a series of papers on the creation of affordable public genotyping resources for underserved agricultural plant and animal species.