Controlling flowering of Medicago sativa (alfalfa) by inducing dominant mutations

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


  • Fulltext

    Final published version, 823 KB, PDF document

Breeding plants with polyploid genomes is challenging because functional redundancy hampers the identification of loss-of-function mutants. Medicago sativa is tetraploid and obligate outcrossing, which together with inbreeding depression complicates traditional breeding approaches in obtaining plants with a stable growth habit. Inducing dominant mutations would provide an alternative strategy to introduce domestication traits in plants with high gene redundancy. Here we describe two complementary strategies to induce dominant mutations in the M. sativa genome and how they can be relevant in the control of flowering time. First, we outline a genome-engineering strategy that harnesses the use of microProteins as developmental regulators. MicroProteins are small proteins that appeared during genome evolution from genes encoding larger proteins. Genome-engineering allows us to retrace evolution and create microProtein-coding genes de novo. Second, we provide an inventory of genes regulated by microRNAs that control plant development. Making respective gene transcripts microRNA-resistant by inducing point mutations can uncouple microRNA regulation. Finally, we investigated the recently published genomes of M. sativa and provide an inventory of breeding targets, some of which, when mutated, are likely to result in dominant traits. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Integrative Plant Biology
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)205-214
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Special 70th anniversary issue: Invited expert reviews highlighting progress in plant biology research

Number of downloads are based on statistics from Google Scholar and

No data available

ID: 285376006