An indoor screening method for reduced fall dormancy in alfalfa

Annick Bertrand, Annie Claessens and Solen Rocher. 2017. An indoor screening method for reduced fall dormancy in alfalfa. Eucarpia, Vilnius, Lithuania, 11-14 September 2017.

Abstract

Fall dormancy is a determinant factor of alfalfa yield in northern climate but selection for that trait is often done to the detriment of freezing tolerance. Selection for low dormancy in the field is a tedious process that depends on unpredictable fall conditions allowing the identification of less dormant genotypes. Here we describe two screening methods entirely performed indoor for the selection for low dormancy in alfalfa without negative impact of freezing tolerance. One method is for semi-dormant cultivars and includes successive freezing stress to simultaneously improve freezing tolerance and the other is for winterhardy dormant cultivars. In both approaches, alfalfa is exposed to a critical photoperiod during four weeks that allows to discriminate between dormant and less-dormant genotypes. These approaches can be used to generate recurrently selected populations that are progressively less dormant.

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