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Keywords:

  • AFLP;
  • chromosome number;
  • fecundity;
  • flow cytometry;
  • polyploidy

An artificial intergeneric hybrid derived from sexual hybridization between Arabidopsis thaliana (female) and Pachycladon cheesemanii (male) is characterized and formally named as ×Pachydopsis hortorum. A hybrid origin for ×Pachydopsis is supported by a chromosome number of 2n = 15, with this comprising haploid gametes from A. thaliana (n = 5) and P. cheesemanii (n = 10). DNA fingerprinting using amplified fragment length polymorphism data also confirmed the parentage of the hybrid, as it comprised the additive total of all of the fragments scored for P. cheesemanii and most of those scored for A. thaliana. ×Pachydopsis is a robust perennial herb with numerous leafy rosettes and long inflorescences like P. cheesemanii, and floral parts that are intermediate between the parents. ×Pachydopsis produces sterile pollen. Female function of ×Pachydopsis is partially normal, with the pollen of A. thaliana and several species of Pachycladon readily germinating on the stigma, and pollen tubes growing down the style and transmission tissue into the ovary. No seed was formed from these pollinations, although one embryo developed but subsequently aborted at the torpedo stage. Colchicine was used to induce polyploid inflorescences, and these were confirmed by the size and density of the stomata and pollen diameter. Flowers from the polyploid inflorescences of ×Pachydopsis were backcrossed with A. thaliana Landsberg erecta and 11 seeds were produced. Four backcross hybrid plants were raised and two of these had a chromosome number of 2n = 20, consistent with a haploid gamete (n = 15) from polyploid × Pachydopsis being fertilized by a haploid pollen gamete (n = 5) from A. thaliana Landsberg erecta. Polyploid × Pachydopsis flowers backcrossed with P. cheesemanii and crossed with P. novae-zelandiae did not produce any seeds. The partially fertile intergeneric hybrid described here between Arabidopsis and Pachycladon is remarkable in that, although the two genera occur in an Arabidopsoid clade, they are separated by a reasonable phylogenetic distance. This relationship suggests that Pachycladon and ×Pachydopsis have the potential to be employed in the study of evolutionary and ecological processes using the wide array of Arabidopsis resources. © 2008 The Linnean Society of London, Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society, 2008, 157, 533–544.