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Hairy root transformation in alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.)


The widely cultivated forage legume alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) was transformed with the agropine type Agrobacterium rhizogenes NCPPB 1855. Sterile root and callus cultures were derived from tumorous hairy roots which were easily obtained independent of the plant variety or genotype. Plant regeneration, via somatic embryogenesis, was achieved only when a selected alfalfa line, characterized by high regenerative capability, was utilized. Genetic transformation was confirmed by the presence of agropine and T-DNA. Phenotypic alterations, mainly affecting the root system, were observed in transformed plants. The possibility that T-DNA-induced variations could be useful in the improvement of M. sativa is discussed.

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Research work was partially supported by “Progetto Strategico Agrobiotecnologia” C.N.R., Italy

Communicated by F.Salamini

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Spanò, L., Mariotti, D., Pezzotti, M. et al. Hairy root transformation in alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.). Theoret. Appl. Genetics 73, 523–530 (1987).

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Key words

  • Hairy root
  • Medicago sativa L.
  • Phenotypic variation
  • Agrobacterium rhizogenes
  • Genetic transformation