Evaluation of Agro-Morphological Traits of Sainfoin Genotypes (Onobrychis viciifolia) with Natural and Induced Genetic Variability



Sainfoin (Onobrychis viciifolia Scop.) is a perennial forage legume recognized for its feed quality and its tolerance to environmental stress. However, lack of proper genetic variability for some important agronomic traits limits its cultivation. Mutation breeding is a useful alternative for crop improvement. In this research 40 M3 Ethyle Methane Sulphonat (EMS) induced mutant lines along with 39 non-mutant genotypes of Sainfoin were evaluated for 18 agro-morphological traits in the field for two years. Considerable variation was observed in both populations (Mutants and non-mutants) for leaf to stem ratio and powdery mildew susceptibility in the first year and for forage yield, stems percentage, leaf to stem ratio and persistency in the second year. Results of mean comparison showed that mutant genotypes were significantly superior for most of the measured traits especially forage yield, stem percentage, leaf to stem ratio and persistency. Results of cluster analysis also confirmed the high genetic variability in each population. A group of genotypes clustered together in mutant population stayed roset in the first year indicating a possible requirement for induction of vernalization in these genotypes. Finally results indicated that mutation could induce variation for some traits, however their stability should be considered in future generation, so it can be useful for selection of superior genotypes in future breeding programs.