The genetic map for alfalfa presented here has eight linkage groups representing the haploid chromosome set of the Medicago species. The genetic map was constructed by ordering the linkage values of 89 RFLP, RAPD, isozyme and morphological markers collected from a segregating population of 138 individuals. The segregating population is self-mated progeny of an F1 hybrid plant deriving from a cross between the diploid (2n = 2x = 16) yellow-flowered. Medicago sativa ssp. quasifalcata and the diploid (2n = 2x = 16) blue-flowered M. sativa ssp. coerulea. The inheritance of many traits displayed distorted segregation, indicating the presence of lethal loci in the heterozygotic parent plants. In spite of the lack of uniform segregation, linkage groups could be assigned and the order of the markers spanning > 659 centimorgans could be unambiguously determined. This value and the calculated haploid genome size for Medicago (1n = 1x = 1.0 x 10(9) bp) gives a ratio of < 1500 kb per centimorgan.