Login | Request Account (DAF staff only)

Lucerne biology and genetic improvement - an analysis of past activities and future goals in Australia

Share this record

Add to FacebookAdd to LinkedinAdd to XAdd to WechatAdd to Microsoft_teamsAdd to WhatsappAdd to Any

Export this record

View Altmetrics

Irwin, J. A. G., Lloyd, D.L. and Lowe, K.F. (2001) Lucerne biology and genetic improvement - an analysis of past activities and future goals in Australia. Australian Journal of Agricultural Research, 52 (7). pp. 699-712. ISSN 1836-0947


Article Link: https://doi.org/10.1071/AR00181


Breeding methodologies for cultivated lucerne (Medicago sativa L.), an autotetraploid, have changed little over the last 50 years, with reliance on polycross methods and recurrent phenotypic selection. There has been, however, an increase in our understanding of lucerne biology, in particular the genetic relationships between members of the M. sativa complex, as deduced by DNA analysis. Also, the differences in breeding behaviour and vigour of diploids versus autotetraploids, and the underlying genetic causes, are discussed in relation to lucerne improvement.Medicago falcata, a member of the M. sativa complex, has contributed substantially to lucerne improvement in North America, and its diverse genetics would appear to have been under-utilised in Australian programs over the last two decades, despite the reduced need for tolerance to freezing injury in Australian environments.
Breeding of lucerne in Australia only commenced on a large scale in 1977, driven by an urgent need to introgress aphid resistance into adapted backgrounds. The release in the early 1980s of lucernes with multiple pest and disease resistance (aphids, Phytophthora, Colletotrichum) had a significant effect on increasing lucerne productivity and persistence in eastern Australia, with yield increases under high disease pressure of up to 300% being recorded over the predominant Australian cultivar, up to 1977, Hunter River. Since that period, irrigated lucerne yields have plateaued, highlighting the need to identify breeding objectives, technologies, and the germplasm that will create new opportunities for increasing performance. This review discusses major goals for lucerne improvement programs in Australia, and provides indications of the germplasm sources and technologies that are likely to deliver the desired outcomes.

Item Type:Article
Subjects:Plant culture > Field crops > Forage crops. Feed crops
Live Archive:09 Jan 2024 02:05
Last Modified:10 Jan 2024 01:35

Repository Staff Only: item control page


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics