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Pseudogamous Apomixis in Maize and Sorghum in Diploid-Tetraploid Crosses

Marina Tsvetova1, Lev Elkonin1,*, Yulia Italianskaya1

1 Agricultural Research Institute of South-East Region, Department of Biotechnology, Saratov, 410010, Russia.

* Corresponding Author: Lev Elkonin. Email: email.

Phyton-International Journal of Experimental Botany 2019, 88(4), 389-401.


Apomictic seed development is a complex process including formation of unreduced embryo sac, parthenogenetic embryo development from the egg cell, and endosperm formation either autonomously, or due to fertilization of polar nuclei by the sperm (under pseudogamous form of apomixis). In the latter case, an obstacle to the normal endosperm development is disturbance of maternal (m) -to-paternal (p) genomic ratio 2m: 1p that occurs in the cases of pollination of unreduced embryo sac with haploid sperms. Usage of tetraploid pollinators can overcome this problem because in such crosses maternal-to-paternal genomic ratio is 4m: 2p that provides formation of kernels with plump endosperm. Using tetraploid lines as pollen parents we observed formation of plump kernels on the ears and panicles of diploid maize and sorghum accessions. These kernels had hybrid endosperm and diploid maternaltype embryo or hybrid embryo with different ploidy level (2n, 3n, 4n). The frequencies of plump kernels on the ear ranged from 0.2-0.3% to 5.7-6.2% counting from the number of ovaries. Maternal-type plants were found in two maize lines, their frequency varying from 10.7 to 37.5% of the progeny plants. In CMS-lines of sorghum pollinated with tetraploid sorghum accessions, the frequency of plump kernels ranged from 0.6 to 14.0% counting from the number of ovaries; the frequency of maternal-type plants varied from 33.0 up to 96.1%. The hybrid nature of endosperm of the kernels that gave rise to maternal-type plants has been proved by marker gene expression and by SDS-electrophoresis of endosperm proteins. These data testify to variable modes of seed formation under diploid × tetraploid crosses in maize and sorghum both by amphi- and by apomixis. Therefore, usage of tetraploid pollinators might be a promising approach for isolation of apomixis in maize and sorghum accessions.


Cite This Article

Tsvetova, M., Elkonin, L., Italianskaya, Y. (2019). Pseudogamous Apomixis in Maize and Sorghum in Diploid-Tetraploid Crosses. Phyton-International Journal of Experimental Botany, 88(4), 389–401.

cc This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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