Molecular markers for cultivar ID and seed certification in pasture legumes

AgResearch Limited

  • Project code: PRJ-009750

  • Project stage: Closed

  • Project start date: Wednesday, July 15, 2015

  • Project completion date: Wednesday, July 15, 2020

  • National Priority: PSE-Supporting production systems and agronomic advancements


This project will investigate cultivar identification at seed stage in three important forage and pasture legume species as well as two intermediary species predominantly grown in Australia and also overseas. The three main species are white clover (Trifolium repens L.), red clover (T. pretense L.), and Lucerne (Medicago sativa L.) and the two other species are barrel medic (M. truncatula Gaertn.) and burr medic (M. polymorpha L.). A unique opportunity exists to exploit elite molecular markers of subterranean clover (T. subterraneum L.) and their transferability to other pasture and forage relatives of this species. Simple Sequence Repeats (SSRs) have been used for mapping and screening of subterranean clover cultivars and the same markers will be used to screen the other species for cultivar identification and confirming the use of the methodology. Genomic resources of M. truncatula, Lucerne, and red and white clovers will also be exploited using their available genetic and linkage maps and markers to develop a specific protocol for each species if the subterranean clover markers are not 100% transferable. These protocols will be of extremely practical use in future commercial cultivar ID, seed purity tests, GMO testing and Marker Assisted Breeding (MAB) programs in these species.


Pasture Seeds

Research Organisation

AgResearch Limited

Objective Summary

1. To identify elite and discriminative molecular markers for red and white clover and Lucerne based on subterranean clover elite SSR marker development system for utilisation in Australian and international forage seed industry’s molecular breeding programs.
2. To develop and streamline a protocol for cultivar ID for important forage and pasture legume species in Australia and overseas.
3. To introduce a reliable methodology for seed quality assurance, purity test and certification in these species specifically for seed companies with a focus on the export market.