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Hotspots and gaps in the world collection of subterranean clover (Trifolium subterraneum L.)

Ghamkhar, K., Nichols, P.G.H., Erskine, W., Snowball, R., Murillo, M., Appels, R. and Ryan, M.H. (2015) Hotspots and gaps in the world collection of subterranean clover (Trifolium subterraneum L.). The Journal of Agricultural Science, 153 (6). pp. 1069-1083.

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Subterranean clover (Trifolium subterraneum L.) is the most important annual pasture legume in the winter-dominant rainfall areas of Southern Australia. Systematic germplasm collections of subterranean clover from its centre of origin have been made since the 1950s, particularly by Australian scientists, in order to broaden the genetic base of the species. The present study reports on a meta-analysis of the distribution of the world collection of subterranean clovers and their relationships to eco-geographic variables of the collection sites in their native habitat. Diversity hotspots (areas rich in number of accessions and containing a high diversity of sub-species) and also gaps (areas with particular traits un- or under-represented in collections) were identified. This was achieved using a stratified data system to evaluate eco-geographical and agro-morphological data which incorporated three tiers of information for the subterranean clover collection: (1) information from each collection site, including ecological data; (2) information on the phenotypic diversity within each collection site; and (3) plant agro-morphological data from each sample grown under controlled conditions. Correlations were found between some eco-geographic conditions and agronomic performance. These included correlations between latitude and flowering time, mean temperature in winter and winter productivity and precipitation in summer and seed dormancy. The present study concluded that subterranean clover versatility is greater than suggested in the past. The results of the current analysis provide a guide for future collecting missions to specific regions towards areas of maximum diversity (hotspots) and unknown diversity (gaps).

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Centre for Comparative Genomics
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Copyright: © 2014 Cambridge University Press
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