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Genetics. Mar 2003; 163(3): 1069–1082.
PMCID: PMC1462501

Delineation by fluorescence in situ hybridization of a single hemizygous chromosomal region associated with aposporous embryo sac formation in Pennisetum squamulatum and Cenchrus ciliaris.


Apomixis is a means of asexual reproduction by which plants produce embryos without meiosis and fertilization; thus the embryo is of clonal, maternal origin. We previously reported molecular markers showing no recombination with the trait for aposporous embryo sac development in Pennisetum squamulatum and Cenchrus ciliaris, and the collective single-dose alleles defined an apospory-specific genomic region (ASGR). Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) was used to confirm that the ASGR is a hemizygous genomic region and to determine its chromosomal position with respect to rDNA loci and centromere repeats. We also documented chromosome transmission from P. squamulatum in several backcrosses (BCs) with P. glaucum using genomic in situ hybridization (GISH). One to three complete P. squamulatum chromosomes were detected in BC(6), but only one of the three hybridized with the ASGR-linked markers. In P. squamulatum and in all BCs examined, the apospory-linked markers were located in the distal region of the short arm of a single chromosome. All alien chromosomes behaved as univalents during meiosis and segregated randomly in BC(3) and later BC generations, but presence of the ASGR-carrier chromosome alone was sufficient to confer apospory. FISH results support our hypotheses that hemizygosity, proximity to centromeric sequences, and chromosome structure may all play a role in low recombination in the ASGR.

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Selected References

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