Sorghum bicolor x S. halepense Interspecific Hybridization is Influenced by the Frequency of 2n Gametes in S. bicolor


Tetraploid johnsongrass [Sorghum halepense (L.) Pers.] is a sexually-compatible weedy relative of diploid sorghum [Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench]. To determine the extent of interspecific hybridization between male sterile grain sorghum and johnsongrass and the ploidy of their progeny, cytoplasmic (CMS), genetic (GMS) and chemically induced male sterile lines of Tx623 and Tx631 were pollinated with johnsongrass pollen. At maturity 1% and 0.07% of the developing seeds of Tx623 and Tx631 respectively were recovered. Ninety-one percent of recovered hybrids were tetraploid and two percent were triploid, the tetraploids resulting from 2n gametes present in the sorghum female parent. Their formation appears to be genotype dependent as more tetraploids were recovered from Tx623 than Tx631. Because a tetraploid sorghum x johnsongrass hybrid has a balanced genome, they are male and female fertile providing opportunities for gene flow between the two species. Given the differences in 2n gamete formation among Tx623 and Tx631, seed parent selection may be one way of reducing the likelihood of gene flow. These studies were conducted in controlled and optimum conditions; the actual outcrossing rate in natural conditions is expected to be much lower. More studies are needed to assess the rates of hybridization, fitness, and fertility of the progeny under field conditions.

*Scientific Reports 9 17901
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