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J Hered. 2013 Jan-Feb;104(1):140-8. doi: 10.1093/jhered/ess077. Epub 2012 Oct 16.

From herkogamy to cleistogamy--development of cleistogamy in periwinkle.

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CSIR-Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, Research Centre, Allalasandra, Bangalore 560 065, India.


Periwinkle (Catharanthus roseus [L.] G. Don), an important medicinal plant, is an allogamous species in which the stigma is below the anthers. The receptive portion is at the base of the stigmatic head and thus automatic intra-flower self-pollination is excluded. The structure of the flower is of typical reverse herkogamy and pollination occurs through nectar-seeking insects. A few self-pollinating strains are also reported in which self-pollination is brought about by an increase in length of the style or of the ovary. Self-pollination is governed by allelic duplicate genes recessive to allogamy. An induced monogenic recessive mutant (EMS 17-1) with caducous closed corolla (corolla abscising before anthesis), isolated from variety, Dhawal, was crossed with two self-pollinating strains to study the possibility of obtaining cleistogamous recombinants combining closed corolla and self-pollination traits. Cleistogamous plants were obtained in which development of fruits and seeds occurred without opening of the corolla. Closed corolla and self-pollination were found to be independently inherited. A dominant gene in the parent in which self-pollination occurred due to an increase in length of the ovary, appeared to completely or partially inhibit expression of the gene for closed corolla in homozygous or heterozygous condition, respectively. The genetic basis of development of cleistogamy is described. Cleistogamy in periwinkle would facilitate in ensuring genetic purity, pollen containment, and seed production even in the absence of pollinators. This appears to be the first report on the development of cleistogamous plants in an allogamous species.

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