The importance of legume genetic resources for breeding
This paper presents the plant genetic resources maintained by the Center of Excellence for Legumes of the Institute of Field and Vegetable Crops, National Institute of the Republic of Serbia. The genetic resources of legumes (soybean, alfalfa, red clover, pea and vetch) are an invaluable source material and a rich source of genetic divergence for the development of varieties adapted to specific agricultural and environmental conditions. Soybean is the most important of all cultivated legumes and occupies the largest area under cultivation. The alfalfa collection consists of over 800 genotypes with different agronomic traits and dormancy values. The novel alfalfa breeding concept - breeding for yield per se, based on natural heterosis in the development of half hybrids - was introduced in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. The Center of Excellence for Legumes has 757 soybean genotypes, 655 red clover genotypes, about 730 pea genotypes and 495 vetch genotypes. The development of the winter pea variety for grain (NS Mraz), the first of its kind in South-Eastern Europe, was significant for science.