Theoretical and Applied Genetics

, Volume 131, Issue 5, pp 1111–1123 | Cite as

Maximizing the expression of transgenic traits into elite alfalfa germplasm using a supertransgene configuration in heterozygous conditions

  • Cintia Jozefkowicz
  • Romina Frare
  • Romina Fox
  • Ariel Odorizzi
  • Valeria Arolfo
  • Elba Pagano
  • Daniel Basigalup
  • Nicolas Ayub
  • Gabriela Soto
Original Article


Key message

A novel process for the production of transgenic alfalfa varieties.


Numerous species of legumes, including alfalfa, are critical factors for agroecosystems due to their ability to grow without nitrogen fertilizers derived from non-renewable fossil fuels, their contribution of organic nitrogen to the soil, and their increased nutritional value. Alfalfa is the main source of vegetable proteins in meat and milk production systems worldwide. Despite the economic and ecological importance of this autotetraploid and allogamous forage crop, little progress has been made in the incorporation of transgenic traits into commercial alfalfa. This is mainly due to the unusually strong transgene silencing and complex reproductive behavior of alfalfa, which limit the production of events with high transgene expression and the introgression of selected events within heterogeneous synthetic populations, respectively. In this report, we describe a novel procedure, called supertransgene process, where a glufosinate-tolerant alfalfa variety was developed using a single event containing the BAR transgene associated with an inversion. This approach can be used to maximize the expression of transgenic traits into elite alfalfa germplasm and to reduce the cost of production of transgenic alfalfa cultivars, contributing to the public improvement of this legume forage and other polyploid and outcrossing crop species.



We thank IGEAF-CICVyA and EEA Manfredi for their technical support.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (PDF 55 kb)
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Supplementary material 2 (PDF 337 kb)
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Supplementary material 3 (PDF 137 kb)
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Supplementary material 4 (PDF 51 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET)Buenos AiresArgentina
  2. 2.Instituto de Genética “Ewald Favret” (INTA)Buenos AiresArgentina
  3. 3.Estación Experimental Agropecuaria Manfredi (INTA)CórdobaArgentina

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