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J Exp Bot. 2014 Mar;65(4):939-51. doi: 10.1093/jxb/ert438. Epub 2013 Dec 27.

Physiological and genetic analysis of CO2-induced breakdown of self-incompatibility in Brassica rapa.

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Graduate School of Biological Sciences, Nara Institute of Science and Technology, Ikoma, Nara 630-0192, Japan.


Self-incompatibility (SI) of the Brassicaceae family can be overcome by CO2 gas treatment. This method has been used for decades as an effective means to obtain a large amount of inbred seeds which can then be used for F1 hybrid seed production; however, the molecular mechanism by which CO2 alters the SI pathway has not been elucidated. In this study, to obtain new insights into the mechanism of CO2-induced SI breakdown, the focus was on two inbred lines of Brassica rapa (syn. campestris) with different CO2 sensitivity. Physiological examination using X-ray microanalysis suggested that SI breakdown in the CO2-sensitive line was accompanied by a significant accumulation of calcium at the pollen-stigma interface. Pre-treatment of pollen or pistil with CO2 gas before pollination showed no effect on the SI reaction, suggesting that some physiological process after pollination is necessary for SI to be overcome. Genetic analyses using F1 progeny of a CO2-sensitive × CO2-insensitive cross suggested that CO2 sensitivity is a semi-dominant trait in these lines. Analysis of F2 progeny suggested that CO2 sensitivity could be a quantitative trait, which is controlled by more than one gene. Quantitative trait locus (QTL) analyses identified two major loci, BrSIO1 and BrSIO2, which work additively in overcoming SI during CO2 treatment. No QTL was detected at the loci previously shown to affect SI stability, suggesting that CO2 sensitivity is determined by novel genes. The QTL data presented here should be useful for determining the responsible genes, and for the marker-assisted selection of desirable parental lines with stable but CO2-sensitive SI in F1 hybrid breeding.


Brassica rapa; CO2; F1 hybrid; QTL; calcium; self-incompatibility.

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