Root proliferation in Medicago sativa L. (s. l.): (1) Evaluation of procedures for increased production of nondormant root-proliferating alfalfas. (2) Inheritance of the root-proliferating habit.
AdvisorSmith, Steven E.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThis investigation examined the efficiency of various screening procedures which could be used in breeding for increased production of root-proliferating (RP) genotypes of alfalfa (Medicago sativa L. s. l.). Also investigated were relationships between RP and winter growth characteristics in populations derived from crosses between dormant, RP clones and nondormant, non-RP clones. In addition, this investigation also considered the inheritance of the RP habit. Plants from an 11-month F₁ progeny test containing 3508 offspring were qualitatively analyzed for RP expression using three pairs of screening procedures. Procedures compared included: (1) direct-seeding vs. transplanting; (2) use of characterized parental clones (known RP-expressing genotypes selected from field nursery) vs. uncharacterized parental clones (genotypes derived from RP seed lots with no prior knowledge of their ability to express the RP habit) in RP x nondormant crosses; and (3) low vs. high harvest frequencies. A low frequency (3.3%) of F₁ plants exhibited adventitious shoot formation. No differences were observed in the frequency of RP-expressing genotypes between the direct-seeded and transplanted treatments or between the low and high harvest frequency treatments. Characterized RP parents produced a hybrid population with a significantly higher frequency of RP-expressing genotypes than did the F₁ population derived from uncharacterized RP parents. Average winter forage production of the F₁ hybrids were similar in magnitude to the midparent value. Plant height was significantly and positively correlated with forage yield and could be used as an accurate indicator of winter forage yield in analyses of RP segregants. Estimates of components of genetic variance for RP expressivity indicated a predominance of additive effects and narrow sense heritability of 8.4%. Family selection and progeny testing are suggested for maximum breeding progress.
Degree ProgramPlant Sciences