The main objectives are increasing the efficiency of breeding methods and genetic resource utilization, and selecting forage and feed grain legume varieties with improved stress tolerance, quality and adaptation to Italian environments. Our activities comprise:

  • evaluation and exploitation of Italian and exotic genetic resources
  • genetic structure of Italian landrace and natural population germplasm to optimize conservation and selection activities
  • innovation and optimization of selection schemes and variety models for open-pollinated forage crops (lucerne, forage grasses) and pea
  • heterosis analysis in autotetraploids (lucerne) through free-hybrids and studying its display by molecular markers and differential gene expression
  • genetic control of quantitative traits contributing to forage production and quality
  • improvement of lucerne forage quality through innovative plant morphology and modification of plant physiological traits
  • modeling genotype Ă— environment interaction for cultivar targeting, and integration with quantitative genetics for optimizing selection strategies
  • ecophysiology of plant adaptation and adaptive trait-based selection for favourable and stress environments
  • marker-assisted selection for tolerance to drought (lucerne, pea) and grazing (lucerne)
  • interspecific interference in forage legume-grass mixtures and feed legume-cereal mixtures in relation to selection for mixed cropping
  • plant types and selection methods for forage and feed legumes targeted to organic systems
  • symbiotic and rhizospheric interactions between soil microorganisms and forage plants to enhance nitrogen fixation and drought tolerance
  • breeding of turfgrass for low-input management (Poa pratensis, Cynodon dactylon) and technical cover crops for vineyards and orchards