Doubled Haploids

  • Hartwig H. Geiger

Doubled haploid (DH) maize lines can be produced by in vitro and in vivo techniques. The in vitro approach is focused on anther and microspore culture. However, most maize genotypes proved to be highly recalcitrant. Genetic analyses showed that in vitro androgenetic response is under complex multifactorial control. Despite good results with specific genotypes, the technique has not yet become a routine tool in maize research or breeding. In contrast, in vivo procedures could be improved considerably and have been widely applied during the last 10 – 15 years. In vivo induction of paternal haploids based on the ‘indeterminate gametophyte’ mutant has become a standard technique for transferring elite seed parent lines into cytoplasms that condition male sterility. Similarly, the induction of maternal haploids by pollination with specific inducer genotypes has become a routine procedure for large-scale DH line production. Both in vivo techniques are much less affected by donor genotypes than the in vitro procedures.

Progress achieved in the induction of maternal haploids pertains to the induction rate, easily screenable markers for haploid identification, chromosome doubling procedures, and handling of seedlings which survived chromosome doubling. In research, DH lines are mainly being used for mapping purposes and in breeding they are progressively replacing conventional inbred lines. Various DH line-based breeding schemes have been suggested, and computer software has been developed for optimizing the dimensioning of the schemes and for determining the relative merits of alternative breeding strategies. DH lines feature important advantages regarding quantitative genetic, operational, logistic, and economic aspects. The DH-line technology can therefore be considered as one of the most effective tools in modern maize genetics and breeding. The mechanism of in vivo induction of gynogenetic haploids is not yet fully understood. Most likely, one of the two inducer sperm cells is not fully functional yet fuses with the egg cell. During subsequent cell divisions, a degeneration process starts and the chromosomes get fragmented and finally are eliminated from the primordial cells leaving only maternal chromosomes. The second sperm cell fuses with the central cell leading to a regular triploid endosperm and a normal-sized functional seed.


Double Haploid Microspore Culture Recurrent Selection Chromosome Doubling Induction Rate 
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© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Plant Breeding, Seed Science, and Population GeneticsUniversität HohenheimStuttgartGermany

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