Bidirectional but asymmetrical sexual hybridization between Brassica carinata and Sinapis arvensis (Brassicaceae).

Cheung, K.W., Razeq, F.M., Sauder, C.A., James, T., and Martin, S.L. (2015). "Bidirectional but asymmetrical sexual hybridization between Brassica carinata and Sinapis arvensis (Brassicaceae).", Journal of Plant Research, 128(3), pp. 469-480. doi : 10.1007/s10265-015-0702-2  Access to full text


With transgenic crop development it is important to evaluate the potential for transgenes to escape into populations of wild, weedy relatives. Ethiopian mustard (Brassica carinata, BBCC) is easily transformed and is being investigated for uses from biodiesel fuels to biopharmaceuticals. However, little work has been done evaluating its ability to cross with relatives such as wild mustard (Sinapsis arvensis, SrSr), an abundant, cosmopolitan weedy relative. Here we conducted bidirectional crosses with Ethiopian mustard as a maternal parent in 997 crosses and paternal parent in 1,109 crosses. Hybrids were confirmed using flow cytometry and species-specific ITS molecular markers and indicate a high hybridization rate of 6.43 % between Ethiopian mustard (♀) and wild mustard (♂) and a lower, but not insignificant, hybridization rate of 0.01 % in the reverse direction. The majority of the hybrids were homoploid (BCSr) with less than 1 % of pollen production of their parents and low seed production (0.26 seeds/pollination) in crosses and backcrosses indicating a potential for advanced generation hybrids. The accession used had a significant effect on hybrid seed production with different accessions of Ethopian mustard varying in their production of hybrid offspring from 2.69 to 16.34 % and one accession of wild mustard siring almost twice as many hybrid offspring per flower as the other. One pentaploid (BBCCSr) and one hexaploid (BBCCSrSr) hybrid were produced and had higher pollen viability, though no and low seed production, respectively. As wild mustard is self-incompatible and the outcrossing rate of Ethiopian mustard has been estimated as 30 % potential for hybrid production in the wild appears to be high, though the hybridization rate found here represents a worst case scenario as it does not incorporate pre-pollination barriers. Hybridization in the wild needs to be directly evaluated as does the propensity of Ethiopian mustard to volunteer.

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