have heard of hybrids, and you have heard of hybrid vigor, but
you have probably not heard of hybrid seeds sans sexual
reproduction, usually associated with very low forms of plant
or animal life as a norm, has also been expressed in
sophisticated plant systems.When asexual
reproduction results in the formation of seeds, the process is
known as apomixis.Apomixis occurs in both dicotyledons and
story reports apomixis in chickpea, a well-established and
an important source of dietary protein, is a diploid,
self-pollinated crop, and hence does not have a cross
pollinating system, the usual source of hybrid vigor.Though some
experimental crosses of chickpeas display heterosis, a system
to exploit this is not available.
Seed purity is important to chickpea farmers since
there is strong consumer preference for the size, color, and
uniformity in seeds.Unlike other legumes, chickpea does not have a workable
seed production system such as the male sterile system, which
can ensure pure hybrid seeds.
normal fertilization, one of the two gametes from a pollen
grain fuses with the polar nuclei of the embryo sac to form
the endosperm, and the other fuses with the egg to form the
zygote, which together grow into a seed. In chickpea apomixis
it was observed that only partial fertilization, i.e.,
formation of the endosperm takes place, and triggers the
formation of the seed, producing offspring which are carbon
copies of the mother. Clue! There is no paternal input.
(Right, apomictic plants resembling their female
parent. In the far right corner is the pollen donor used in
the crossing program).
has a rich wild species gene pool of which only two compatible
species have been crossed with cultivated species.Attempts are underway
to cross incompatible species.Crosses using
cultivated species as the female parent and incompatible wild
species as the pollen donor produced pods with aborted seeds.
Aborted seeds had hybrid embryos at different stages of
development.Reciprocal crosses were carried out using Cicer
pinnatifidum and C. bijugum as the female parent
and the cultivated chickpea cultivars ICCV10 and ICC 92318 as
the pollen donor. These crosses resulted in apomictic
progeny.Morphological, cytological, fluorescence microscopy and
molecular analysis confirmed the apomictic nature of the
apomixis, high quality pure seeds, those that will not
segregate with unanticipated characters, can be produced
without the requirements of isolation. This will greatly ease
development, multiplication and maintenance of high vigor
cultivars of chickpea.
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