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Crop Science Abstract -

Variability in a Collection of Alfalfa Germplasm from Morocco


This article in CS

  1. Vol. 28 No. 4, p. 605-609
    Received: Aug 13, 1987

    * Corresponding author(s):
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  1. M. D. Rumbaugh ,
  2. W. L. Graves,
  3. J. L. Caddel and
  4. R. M. Mohammad
  1. U SDA-ARS, Forage and Ranch Research, Utah State Univ., Logan, UT 84322-6300
    U niv. of California Coop. Ext. Serv., San Diego, CA 92123
    O klahoma State Univ., Stillwater, OK 74078
    D ep. of Plant Sci., Utah State Univ., Logan, UT 84322



It is expensive to incorporate extensive collections of exotic plant germplasm into breeding programs directed toward the improvement of quantitatively inherited agronomic traits. A pooling of accessions based on similarity of geographic origin or on a high degree of phenotypic resemblance in early screening trials would reduce these expenses. Our objective was to determine whether or not such a procedure was possible with a recent alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) germplasm collection from Morocco. A collection of 146 accessions of alfalfa from Morocco was evaluated for 28 traits measured in greenhouse and field experiments. Each accession was assigned to one of five landraces defined by the geographic regions in which the accessions were collected. Seventy-eight percent of the assignments were valid as judged by discriminant analysis. Accessions from two of the regions were. distinctly different from each other and from those of the other three regions which were quite similar. Spotted alfalfa aphid [Therioaphis maculata (Buckton)] resistance and germination in 1.2 S m−1 NaCl solution were the two most important discriminating variables. Accessions with high levels of insect resistance were obtained only in the Atlanticoastal region and are believed to be recently introduced cultivars. Alfalfa breeders selecting for quantitatively inherited adaptive traits could pool the accessions to form five or fewer populations with little risk of significantly decreasing the variability.

Cooperative investigations of the USDA-ARS and the Utah Agric. Exp. Stn. Approved as paper no. 3441.

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