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Somatic hybrids between unilateral cross-incompatible Petunia species


Somatic hybrid plants regenerated following the fusion of leaf mesophyll protoplasts of Petunia parodii with those isolated from a cell suspension of albino P. inflata. These two species exhibit a unilateral cross-incompatability with a pre-zygotic mode of reproductive isolation preventing hybridizations with P. inflata as the maternal parent. Selection of somatic hybrids relied on the fact that unfused or homokaryon protoplasts of P. parodii did not develop beyond the cell colony stage while those of the putative somatic hybrids and albino P. inflata parent produced callus. Green somatic hybrid calluses were readily identified against the white background of P. inflata following complementation to chlorophyll synthesis proficiency and continued growth in hybrid cells. Shoots, and ultimately flowering plants, were identified as somatic hybrids based on their floral morphology and colour, chromosome number and the fact that they segregated for parental characters. The frequency of somatic hybrid production was comparable to that previously established for two sexually compatible Petunia species.

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Communicated by G. Melchers and G. Wenzel

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Power, J.B., Berry, S.F., Chapman, J.V. et al. Somatic hybrids between unilateral cross-incompatible Petunia species. Theoret. Appl. Genetics 55, 97–99 (1979). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00295433

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Key words

  • Petunia
  • Unilateral cross-incompatibility
  • Protoplast fusion
  • Somatic hybridization