• Medicago sativa;
  • AMOVA;
  • chloroplast simple sequence repeats;
  • ecotypes;
  • genetic variation;
  • molecular markers


Four chloroplast simple sequence repeat (cpSSR) loci were identified in alfalfa (lucerne), Medicago sativa L. The occurrence of allelic variation at these loci was evaluated in 100 plants from 10 populations of tetra-ploid alfalfa, belonging to four Italian ecotypes and to an Italian (‘Lodi’) and an Egyptian (‘Iside’) variety. Twenty-four different alleles were identified, four of which were exclusive to the ‘Iside’ variety. The genetic relationship among plants and among populations was analysed by computing an analysis of molecular variance and an unweighted pair group means analysis clustering. This analysis allowed clear separation of the ‘Iside’ variety from Italian germplasm and the recognition of close relationships within the Italian populations. The data presented suggest that cpSSR analysis of tetraploid alfalfa could be used for germplasm polymorphism analysis.