Evolution was measured over 16 years in a self-regenerating, bulk-hybrid subterranean clover population, consisting of F 2 seed from 253 crosses, sown at Nabawa and Mt Barker, short and long growing season sites, respectively, in south-western Australia. Seed bank samples harvested annually were grown in a common garden. Experiment 1 measured flowering time in plants from each year, while Experiment 2 measured 26 variables in the populations 3 and 16 years after sowing, in comparison with the ancestral population. Changes in population means were observed in 20 characters and variability declined in 11 characters at one or both sites, with much of this occurring within the first three years. Natural selection at Nabawa favoured early flowering of long duration, thick peduncles, high harvest index and high hardseededness. At Mt Barker it favoured late flowering of short duration, large leaves and long, thick petioles at flowering, thick stems with long internodes, long, thin peduncles with a high burial angle, large plants at maturity, low hardseededness and high biochanin A and total isoflavone contents. High seed production capacity, with high seed weight and seeds per burr, was important at both sites. The use of bulk-hybrid populations is demonstrated as a low-input means of breeding and selecting well-adapted subterranean clovers.
Nichols, P. G. H., Cocks, P. S., & Francis, C. (2009). Evolution over 16 years in a bulk-hybrid population of subterranean clover (Trifolium subterraneum L.) at two contrasting sites in south-western Australia. Euphytica, 169(1), 31-48. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10681-009-9906-7