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Crop Science Abstract -

Effect of the Number of Parents of Performance of Alfalfa Synthetics1


This article in CS

  1. Vol. 21 No. 2, p. 298-300
    Received: May 19, 1980

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  1. R. R. Hill Jr. and
  2. J. H. Elgin Jr.2



An experiment was conducted to determine the optimum number of parents that can be used in the development of synthetic cultivars of alfalfa, Medicago saliva L. Five populations of experimental synthetics each with 1, 2, 4, 8, or 16 parents were evaluated in small plots for forage yield at two locations in 1978 and 1979 to determine the effects of the number of parents per synthetic on performance. The parents were random selections from Beltsville 2-An4 alfalfa. The average yield of the synthetics increased and the variance among synthetics decreased as the number of parents per synthetic increased. The number of parents per synthetic had no detectable effect on the magnitudes of the different genotype × environment interaction variances. The greatest expected gain from selection within a large population of experimental synthetic cultivars that trace to one parental population was when the synthetics had more than 4 but less than 16 parents each. Our results indicated that gains from selection within large populations of experimental synthetic cultivars produced with randomly selected parents would not be as great as those from population improvement and progeny test methods currently used in alfalfa breeding.

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