BRENDON CANT brendon at iinet.net.au
Fri Dec 15 10:06:04 CET 2006

 CLIMA media release



Growers will enjoy quicker access to new, more productive pasture legumes,
following rationalisation of one of WA's important seedbank collections by
the Centre for Legumes in Mediterranean Agriculture (CLIMA) and the
Department of Agriculture and Food (DAFWA).


WA has a world class collection of bladder clovers (Trifolium spumosum L.),
which exhibit good yields, easy harvesting, hard-seededness and suit the
wheatbelt's fine textured soils and environments where subclovers and medics
once grew well.


Seed has been accumulated from ancient Middle Eastern ruins, southern
Italian vineyards, or towns nestled on the Adriatic coastline, all regions
with WA-like Mediterranean climates and environments.


Australian Trifolium Genetic Resource Centre (ATGRC) curator, Richard
Snowball of DAFWA, who developed and supervised the GRDC-funded project,
said the collection was now so large and diverse that selecting promising
wild accessions and genotypes was too time-consuming.


But all that is changing, due to rationalising the seedbank from 390
accessions to 32.


CLIMA researcher and project leader based at the University of Western
Australia (UWA), Dr Kioumars Ghamkhar said growers would benefit from the
smaller subset.


"Despite reducing the seedbank by 90 per cent, biodiversity across this core
collection has only reduced by about 15 per cent, thanks to exploiting
accurate molecular and eco-geographical techniques when making the
selections," he said.  


"This means the 32 core accessions strongly represent all available
beneficial traits across the complete collection, while the time breeders
need to search for specific traits to meet grower needs will substantially


"Once a core accession of interest is identified, our data can help them go
back to the main collection and quickly and accurately select relatives of
those accessions with similar traits," Dr Ghamkar said.


Pasture consultant and Tincurrin grower, Neil Ballard, welcomed
rationalising and speeding up the variety breeding process.


"Bladder clover has huge potential for southern Australia and is one of the
species included in the National Annual Pasture Legume  Improvement
Program," he said.


"It's great growers will soon benefit from an excellent pasture species,
through the anticipated release of a first variety from DAFWA's conventional
bladder clover breeding program in 2007.


"And thanks to the rationalised program and core collection project, they
won't have to wait long for further varieties bred for specific traits," Mr
Ballard added.


This project's proven and efficient techniques will be adapted to develop a

sub-terranean clover (Trifolium subterraneum L.) core collection from the
8000 or so accessions and genotypes at the ATGRC, with funding from the
Australian Research Council, DAFWA and UWA.


HYPERLINK "http://www.clima.uwa.edu.au/"www.clima.uwa.edu.au


Authorised by CLIMA and issued on its behalf by Brendon Cant & Associates,
Tel 08 9384 1122



Dr Kioumars Ghamkhar, Tel 08 6488 7120

Professor Neil Turner, CLIMA Director, Tel 08 6488 4723, Mob 0418 286 487  






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