Mapping diplosporous apomixis in tetraploid Tripsacum: one gene or several genes?

Authors

  • GRIMANELLI,

    1. †ORSTOM, Institut Français de Recherche Scientifique pour le Développement en Coopération and
    2. ‡CIMMYT, International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center, CIMMYT Applied Biotechnology Center, Apda 6-641, 06600 Mexico DF, Mexico
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    • LEBLANC †,,

      1. †ORSTOM, Institut Français de Recherche Scientifique pour le Développement en Coopération and
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    • ESPINOSA †,,

      1. †ORSTOM, Institut Français de Recherche Scientifique pour le Développement en Coopération and
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    • PEROTTI ‡,,

      1. ‡CIMMYT, International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center, CIMMYT Applied Biotechnology Center, Apda 6-641, 06600 Mexico DF, Mexico
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    • GONZÁLEZ DE LEÓN ‡,

      1. ‡CIMMYT, International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center, CIMMYT Applied Biotechnology Center, Apda 6-641, 06600 Mexico DF, Mexico
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    • SAVIDAN †

      1. †ORSTOM, Institut Français de Recherche Scientifique pour le Développement en Coopération and
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    Abstract

    Polyploids in Tripsacum, a wild relative of maize, reproduce through the diplosporous type of apomixis, an asexual mode of reproduction through seeds. Diplosporous apomixis involves both the failure of meiosis and the parthenogenetic development of the unreduced gametes, resulting in progenies that are exact genetic copies of the mother plant. Apomixis is believed to be controlled by one single dominant allele, responsible for the whole developmental process. Construction of a linkage map for the chromosome controlling diplosporous apomixis in Tripsacum was carried out in both tetraploid-apomictic and diploid-sexual Tripsacum species using maize restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) probes. A high level of collinearity was observed between the Tripsacum chromosome carrying the control of apomixis and a duplicated segment in the maize genome. In the apomictic tetraploid, there was a strong restriction to recombination, as compared to the corresponding genomic segment in sexual plants and maize. This suggests that apomixis, although inherited as a single Mendelian allele, might really be controlled by a cluster of linked loci. The analysis also revealed the tetrasomic nature of the inheritance of the chromosomal segment controlling apomixis, which contradicts the usually accepted hypothesis of an allopolyploid origin of apomictic species. The implications of these data for the transfer of apomixis into cultivated crops are discussed, and a new approach to studying the genetics of apomixis, based on comparative mapping, is proposed.

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