Spontaneous polyploidisation of interspecific and intersectional Pelargonium hybrids during embryo rescue
Modern Pelargonium crispum hybrids (section Pelargonium) show low genetic and phenotypic variation due to the domestication effect. Species of the sections Cortusina, Ligularia, and Pelargonium are potential breeding partners at the diploid level (2n = 2x = 22). Five P. × crispum cultivars were used as seed parents and pollinated with one genotype of P. grandiflorum (section Pelargonium) and three genotypes of P. fulgidum (section Ligularia). In both combinations, embryo rescue was necessary. Embryos were rescued and cultured on Murashige & Skoog medium supplemented with phytohormones. After callus and adventitious shoot regeneration 15 viable interspecific hybrids were obtained from crossbreeding with P. grandiflorum and 11 intersectional hybrids from crossings with P. fulgidum, respectively. The hybrids were cultivated in the greenhouse until flowering. Their hybrid character was evident due to the intermediate morphological traits. Molecular investigations using dp-RAPD analysis confirmed this. Within the F1 population P. × crispum with P. grandiflorum three hybrids and after crossing with P. fulgidum one hybrid possessed larger flowers and fully developed anthers, respectively. Their ploidy level was confirmed as tetraploid using flow cytometry. Therefore, a spontaneous polyploidisation occurred during in vitro regeneration. The tetraploid F1 hybrids are fertile and could be used for further breeding.
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