Report of the Alfalfa Genome Workshop
1998 NAAIC Meetings, Bozeman, MT
Charlie Brummer, Acting Chair

1.The purpose of the meeting was to introduce various groups working on the alfalfa genome in some manner, discuss problems limiting our ability to conduct genome research in alfalfa (or more broadly, Medicago), identify potential areas for cooperation, and form the starting point for an umbrella organization­the Alfalfa Genome Project­that would give visibility to our crop and research.

2.Research topics: Research is ongoing in alfalfa on forage yield heterosis and its underlying gene action, abiotic stresses (including aluminum tolerance, winterhardiness, and water use efficiency), disease and other biotic stresses, and various measures of population genetic similarity/diversity and identification. Industry participants noted that the first two, particularly yield and winterhardiness, were of most interest to them. Additionally, a number of the attendees work with transformation systems, symbioses, and pathogenesis problems on the related annual species, Medicago truncatula. Sustaining the interaction of the two groups­i.e. alfalfa and M. truncatula­is a desirable goal for the genome communities of both species.

3.Shared resources: A number of shared resources are available for various needs. C. Brummer and T. Osborn currently have tetraploid mapping populations; I. Ray is developing some. RFLP markers are available from T. Osborn, J. Bouton, and G. Kiss. Various libraries have been developed and are available: J. Volenec has some developed from different germplasms for his cold hardiness work. G. Bauchan has an old cDNA library. The Noble Foundation has 2 genomic libraries, and D. Samac has root and leaf libraries. A number of BAC libraries are available in M. truncatula. A number of attendees also have field testing programs­C. Brummer, I. Ray, J. Bouton, J. Volenec, and others.

4.Needs of the alfalfa genomics community: The general consensus is that alfalfa needs more and better markers, preferably SSR type markers. A plan to shift USDA resources into SSR development was proposed, with letters being send from the NAAIC and industry in that regard. The importance of alfalfa needs to be more strongly stressed to Congress and other parties. Among the traits that can be addressed are perenniality and persistence, polysomic polyploidy and associated questions of allele dosage, heterosis and its basis particularly related to polyploidy, and finally the value of the crop to the nation's crop and livestock industries.

5.Visibility of the alfalfa genome community: A section will be added to the NAAIC homepage related to the alfalfa genome project. All members are urged to contact their congressional representatives to increase support for alfalfa.

6.Meetings of this group will be planned for future meetings to help coordinate alfalfa genome research.
Alfalfa Genome Attendees List--August 1998
ParticipantInstitutionPhoneEmail Address
Mike AblerUniversity of
Gary BauchanUSDA-ARS, Beltsville,
Edwin BinghamUniversity of Wisconsin608-262-9579
Joe BoutonUniversity of
Jessica BrummerABI
Charlie BrummerIowa State
Robert CampbellDairyland Seed
Carla ScottiISCF, Lodi,
Bruce CoulmanAAFC-Sask. Research
Dan GardnerDairyland
Robin GrooseUniversity of
Christian HuygheINRA-Lusignan,
David JohnsonCal/West
Bernadette JulierINRA, Lusignan,
Melina Lopez-MeyerNoble
Mark McCaslinForage
Dave MillerPioneer Hi-Bred
Tom OsbornUniversity of
Nancy PaivaNoble
Mike PetersonW-L
Jean-Marie ProsperiINRA, Montpellier,
Ian RayNew Mexico State
Danielle RoselhiniUniversity of Perugia,
Deborah SamacUSDA-ARS, University of
Dan SkinnerUSDA-ARS, Kansas
Steve SmithUniversity of
Paul St. AmandKansas State
Kazuhiro UchiyamaHokkaido National Agric. Exp.
George VandemarkUSDA-ARS, Prosser, WA509-786-3454
Mike VeldeDairyland

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