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Hybridization and the reproductive pathways mediating gene flow between native Malus coronaria and domestic apple, M. domestica

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Gene flow from crops to wild populations is of increasing scientific and public interest, but the potential effects are not well understood when taxa differ in ploidy. We examined the potential for hybridization and gene flow between the introduced diploid domestic apple, Malus domestica Borkh., and the tetraploid crabapple, Maluscoronaria (L.) Miller. Using ploidy and isozyme markers, we inferred the incidence of hybrids in natural populations (adults and open-pollinated seed) and in controlled crosses. Geographic range and flowering time overlapped sufficiently for cross-pollination between domestic apple and M.coronaria. Heterospecific crosses produced as many fruit and seeds as conspecific pollinations on M.coronaria mothers. Some seeds from heterospecific pollinations were hybrids, while others were apomictic in origin. In a natural population, all adult trees tested were tetraploid, but open-pollinated seeds varied in ploidy: 57% tetraploid (sexual or apomictic); 7.7% diploid (apomictic); 7.4% hexaploid or octaploid (sexual); and 27.5% triploid or pentaploid hybrids. Despite previous reports showing that the native and introduced gene pools remain distinct, the high proportion of hybrid seeds suggests there is significant potential for gene flow from domestic apples into native M.coronaria populations.

Le flux génétique des plantes cultivées vers les populations sauvages suscite un intérêt croissant de la part des scientifiques et du public, mais on comprend mal les effets lorsque les taxons possèdent une diploïdie différente. Les auteurs ont examiné le potentiel d'hybridation et de flux génétique entre la pomme domestique diploïde, Malus domestica Borkh. et le pommetier tétraploïde Malus coronaria (L.) Miller. En utilisant la ploïdie et les marqueurs enzymatiques, les auteurs ont saisi l'occurrence des hybrides dans les populations naturelles (adultes et à pollinisation ouverte) et dans des croisements contrôlés. L'aire géographique et les durées de floraison se recouvrent suffisamment pour permettre la pollinisation croisée entre la pomme domestique et le M. coronaria. Les croisements hétérospécifiques produisent autant de fruits et de graines que les pollinisations conspécifiques sur M. coronaria maternel. On rencontre des graines hybrides après pollinisations hétérospécifiques, alors que d'autres montrent une origine apomictique. Dans une population naturelle, tous les adultes testés sont tétraploïdes, mais les graines issues de pollinisation ouverte varient en ploïdie: 57% tétraploïdes (sexuelles ou apomictique); 7,7% diploïdes (apomictiques); 7,4% hexaploïdes ou octoploïdes (sexuelles) et 27,5% triploïdes ou pentaploïdes hybrides. En dépit de mentions antécédentes montrant que les pools de gènes indigènes et introduits demeurent distincts, la forte proportion de graines hybrides suggère l'existence d'un potentiel significatif de flux génétique de la pomme domestique vers les populations indigènes du M. coronaria.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2009-09-01

More about this publication?
  • Published since 1929, this monthly journal features comprehensive research articles and notes in all segments of plant sciences, including cell and molecular biology, ecology, mycology and plant-microbe interactions, phycology, physiology and biochemistry, structure and development, genetics, systematics, and phytogeography. It also publishes commentary and review articles on topics of current interest, contributed by internationally recognized scientists.

    Previously published as the Canadian Journal of Botany
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