(To: The Alfalfa Genome Conference mailing list in 2001)

This concerns starting a newsletter for Medicago genetics.The concept of an alfalfa genetics newsletter has been discussed for 30 years, but it never happened. Now, many of us are working with more than just alfalfa, and a newsletter still seems to be a good idea. At Wisconsin, we are working with M. arborea, coerulea, lupulina, falcata, intertexta, sativa, and truncatula; hence, Medicago would need to be in the title.

Recently, I read several back issues of Pisum Genetics (formerly the Pisum Newsletter) to follow-up on something that N. F. Weeden said at the Medicago truncatula meeting in Madison, July, 2001. Weeden indicated that there were about 10 different genetic maps in peas. I started tracking them. Some information is in journals, but the most helpful source of information and interpretation was in Pisum Genetics. It turns out that homozygous translocations and other chromosomal rearrangements in peas explain the map differences. Then, I looked at the Maize Genetics Cooperative Newsletter, which is on line and in hard copy. And, there are newsletters for several other crop plants. Examining these communications made me realize how much similar information in Medicago species has not gotten into the journals and has literally been lost, in many cases. It is embarrassing! Another thing one notices is that all the newsletters are international.

Hence, I have decided to initiate Medicago Genetic Reports, Volume 1, 2001. Have you ever noticed how convenient it is that Crop Science Volume 1 started in 1961? We have an even more unique opportunity B to start communication in year 1 of the new century. If we are ever going to do it, we should do it now, I argue.

At this moment, I envision starting Volume 1 with some of the short reports from the Alfalfa Genome Conference 1999 that did not get on the website ( These include the generation time and growth analysis of M. sativa coerulea, falcata, truncatula, intertexta and lupulina, and summary statements on mutable alleles, triploids, ploidy, progressive heterosis, and so forth.

The remaining format will be like most newsletters: short reports of one, two, or three pages (maximum), that will be edited but not reviewed. The full version of these reports could still be submitted for journal publication. Longer reviews, statements, interpretations, and mapping business likely will be edited and reviewed.

Timetable will be Dec. 31, 2001 deadline for Reports or an email of intention that a report will arrive by March 1, 2002. The goal will be to activate a website about April 15, 2002 for Volume 1, and then start on Volume 2. Currently, I am thinking in terms of a dedicated web site. There will be a co-editor probably from the international community right from the start to ensure continuity. Update April 15, 2002, I am pleased that Gyorgy Kiss, Szeged, Hungary has agreed to co-edit Medicago Genetic Reports. Regards Edwin Bingham

University of Wisconsin - Madison