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Morphological Traits of Lotus japonicus (Regal) Ecotypes Collected in Japan
Masatsugu Hashiguchi1, Shin-ichi Tsuruta2,3 and Ryo Akashi1,*
1Frontier Science Research Center, University of Miyazaki, Miyazaki 889-2192, Japan
2Department of Biological Production and Environmental Science, University of Miyazaki, Miyazaki 889-2192, Japan
3Current address: National Institute of Livestock and Grassland Science, Nasushiobara, Tochigi 329-2793, Japan
*Corresponding author
  Received : January 07, 2011
  Revised : February 01, 2011
  Accepted : February 18, 2011
  Published : February 21, 2011
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/) which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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Synopsis

Forty-seven wild accessions of Lotus japonicus Regal (Japanese trefoil) indigenous to Japan were investigated for nine morphological characters. Average temperature and annual precipitation were negatively correlated with stem color and seed weight. On the other hand, latitude was positively correlated with these traits. Consequently, accessions from sites at higher latitudes with low temperatures and precipitation tend to have dark red stems and heavy seeds. Cluster analysis based on nine morphological characters classified 47 wild accessions into six major groups. Cluster I included four accessions of tall and erect plants. These plants are phenotypically similar to commercial variety `Empire'. Cluster II consisted of three accessions of creep plants with pale red stems. Cluster III contained 24 accessions that had average values for all morphological characters evaluated. Cluster IV included two accessions of erect plants with rounded leaflets and dark red stems. Cluster V included four accessions of small, creep plants with pale red stems. Cluster VI included seven accessions of small and erect plants, a phenotype that also applies to `Gifu B-129', which is used as experimental strain worldwide. These data were deposited into LegumeBase, an online database (http://www.legumebase.brc.miyazaki-u.ac.jp/) supported by the National BioResource Project (NBRP) in Japan.

Keyword: Lotus japonicus, morphological traits, model legume, BioResource, LegumeBase
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