Molecular Breeding

, 39:14 | Cite as

Dissecting the all-hermaphrodite phenomenon of a rare X chromosome mutant in papaya (Carica papaya L.)

  • Jen-Ren Chen
  • Naoya Urasaki
  • Hideo Matsumura
  • I-Cheng Chen
  • Mei-Jiuan Lee
  • Hui-Ju Chang
  • Wen-Chuan Chung
  • Hsin-Mei KuEmail author


Sex form is one of the most important characters in papaya cultivation in which hermaphrodite is preferable sex form. However, sex determination is impossible until flowering. This study has developed SCAR markers derived from the SVP-like gene and can truly discriminate the three sex forms: female, male, and hermaphrodite papaya. Molecular markers were applied to study the mechanisms responsible for the all-hermaphrodite phenomenon in the self-pollinated progeny of “H*-TSS No.7,” an inbred line derived from a rare X chromosome mutant SR*. This study has provided evidence to support that “H*-TSS No.7” contained a recessive lethal allele, ml, on the X chromosome, and the X*X* homozygous genotype (ml/ml) was detected only in seeds but not in seedlings. Consequently, lost germination ability rather than seed abortion was responsible for missing female progeny in the selfed “H*-TSS No.7” population. The lethal effect in genotypes of YY, YYh, and YhYh papaya could be explained by at least one functional X chromosome being necessary for seed development. This study has demonstrated that “H*-TSS No.7” with a lethal allele (ml) on its X* chromosome is the cause of the defect of germinating ability in its homozygous female progeny.


Carica papaya Papaya Sex diagnosis SCAR markers Sex determination 



The authors thank Prof. Anne Frary, a native English speaker, for critically reviewing and editing the manuscript.

Authors’ contributions

J.-R. Chen conceived the experimental design, and performed the experiments, data analysis, and original manuscript writing. N. Urasaki and H. Matsumura designed the sex form–specific markers. I.-C. Chen and M.-J Lee prepared seed and seedling plant materials. H.-J. Chang and W.-C. Chung collected genotyping data. H.-M. Ku is the project supervisor and responsible for conducting the project, manuscript writing, and submission.

All authors read and approved the final version of the manuscript.

Funding information

This work partially supported J.-R. Chen by a grant from council of agriculture (105AS-9.7.2-SS-X1). This work was also financially supported (in part) to Hsin-Mei Ku by the Advanced Plant Biotechnology Center from The Featured Areas Research Center Program within the framework of the Higher Education Sprout Project by the Ministry of Education (MOE) in Taiwan.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

11032_2018_918_MOESM1_ESM.doc (62 kb)
ESM 1 (DOC 62 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Taiwan Seed Improvement and Propagation StationTaichungTaiwan
  2. 2.Okinawa Prefectural Agricultural Research CenterItomanJapan
  3. 3.Gene Research CenterShinshu UniversityUedaJapan
  4. 4.Advanced Plant Biotechnology CenterNational Chung Hsing UniversityTaichungTaiwan

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