Estimation of the source material for breeding of self-fertile varieties of alfalfa with high seed yield
Keywords:Medicago sativa L., autogamy level, self-pollination, pollen fertility, pod-set, seed productivity
Purpose. Obtaining the highly self-fertile samples of alfalfa with a minimal effect of inbreeding depression on seed productivity for the use in the further selective breeding.
Methods. Field, laboratory, mathematical and statistical.
Results. The expansion of the area under valuable high-protein perennial crops of alfalfa is limited by the lack of seeds due to the low yield of its modern varieties. In conditions of insufficient numbers of pollinating insects, cross-breeding varieties have low seed yield. Thus, self-fertile varieties may have an increased seed yield, since their plants are able to form seeds by self-pollination. As a result of studying 58 samples of the breeding nursery of alfalfa, among which there were inbred lines of 8–10 generations and hybrids, a high level of their self-fertility was determined. Pollen fertility of most samples ranged from 78.6 to 96.5%, and only eight of them showed a decrease to 63.6–78.0%. Selections for the components of seed productivity allowed us to distinguish samples with the number of flowers in the inflorescence from 22.0 to 36.2 pcs. (standard variety ‘Yaroslavna’ – 26.9 pcs.); with the number of set pods from free pollination – from 13.0 up to 21.0 pcs. (standard variety – 16.5 pcs.). The seed yield varied from 10.17 to 35.63 g/m2, and in the standard variety it was 22.03 g/m2. Conclusions. The level of self-fertility of the studied samples of the breeding nursery of alfalfa was quite high – from 32.6 to 68.1%. This breeding material was obtained from the previously created autogamous forms and selected in terms of the minimum effect of inbreeding depression on seed yield. All the obtained breeding material, among which there are hybrids between highly self-fertile samples and inbred lines, will later be used in the selection process to create alfalfa varieties with high seed yield.
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