Gary R. Bauchan
Soybean & Alfalfa Research Lab.
Bldg. 006, Room 14, BARC-West
10300 Baltimore Ave.
Beltsville, MD 20705-2350
Phone: (301) 504-6649
FAX: (301) 504-5723
Alfalfa Cytogenetics
Cytogenetics involves the study of chromosomes. Chromosomes contain the hereditary information of the cell. Genes are located on chromosomes, thus, it is important to study the structure and behavior of chromosomes to understand the inheritance of a trait.
Alfalfa (Medicago sativa ssp. sativa (L.) L. & L.), a tetraploid (2n=4x=32), is the most important forage crop grown in the North America. Despite its importance to U. S. agriculture, cytogenetic research on alfalfa and its closely related species has lagged far behind other crops mainly due to four difficulties. We have been able to overcome some of these difficulties.
Annual Medicago species
What are annual Medicago species? They are legumes, related to alfalfa. They are sometimes referred to as medics. They are true annuals, they flower, set seed and die within one growing season. They are all self-pollinating, therefore bees are not required to produce seed. They are native to the Mediterranean region of the world. The U. S. National Plant Germplasm System contains 3159 accessions of annual Medicago species, this collection includes 35 different species. We have been working on the concept of developing core germplasm collections for their increased use. Recent interest in cropping systems with a sustainable agriculture approach has placed renewed interest on legumes. There are several examples how the annual medic maybe used in sustainable agriculture systems. throughout the U. S.
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