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Keywords:

  • apomixis;
  • Boechera (Brassicaceae);
  • interspecific hybridization;
  • polyploidy;
  • genome painting;
  • heterochromatic chromosome

Summary

  • • 
    Understanding apomixis (asexual reproduction through seeds) is of great interest to both plant breeders and evolutionary biologists. The genus Boechera is an excellent system for studying apomixis because of its close relationship to Arabidopsis, the occurrence of apomixis at the diploid level, and its potentially simple inheritance by transmission of a heterochromatic (Het) chromosome.
  • • 
    Diploid sexual Boechera stricta and diploid apomictic Boechera divaricarpa (carrying a Het chromosome) were crossed. Flow cytometry, karyotype analysis, genomic in situ hybridization, pollen staining and seed-production measurements were used to analyse the parents and resulting F1, F2 and selected F3 and test-cross (TC) generations.
  • • 
    The F1 plant was a low-fertility triploid that produced a swarm of aneuploid and polyploid F2 progeny. Two of the F2 plants were fertile near-tetraploids, and analysis of their F3 and TC progeny revealed that they were sexual and genomically stabilized.
  • • 
    The apomictic phenotype was not transmitted by genetic crossing as a single dominant locus on the Het chromosome, suggesting a complex genetic control of apomixis that has implications for future genetic and evolutionary analyses in this group.