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Plant Reprod. 2019 Sep;32(3):275-289. doi: 10.1007/s00497-019-00369-6. Epub 2019 Mar 21.

Transgenerational effects of inter-ploidy cross direction on reproduction and F2 seed development of Arabidopsis thaliana F1 hybrid triploids.

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Genetics and Biotechnology Laboratory, Plant and AgriBiosciences Research Centre (PABC), Ryan Institute, National University of Ireland, Galway, H91 REW4, Ireland.
Gregor Mendel Institute of Molecular Plant Biology, Vienna, Austria.
Bioinformatics Research Centre, Aarhus University, Århus, Denmark.
Department of Biology, Centre for Novel Agricultural Products (CNAP), University of York, York, UK.
Section of Integrative Biology and Institute for Cellular and Molecular Biology, University of Texas, Austin, USA.
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY, USA.
Apomixis Research Group, Department of Cytogenetics and Genome Analysis, Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research (IPK), Gatersleben, Germany.
Seed and Developmental Biology Program, Global Institute for Food Security, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK, S7N 4J8, Canada.
Genetics and Biotechnology Laboratory, Plant and AgriBiosciences Research Centre (PABC), Ryan Institute, National University of Ireland, Galway, H91 REW4, Ireland.


Reproduction in triploid plants is important for understanding polyploid population dynamics. We show that genetically identical reciprocal F1 hybrid triploids can display transgenerational epigenetic effects on viable F2 seed development. The success or failure of reproductive outcomes from intra-species crosses between plants of different ploidy levels is an important factor in flowering plant evolution and crop breeding. However, the effects of inter-ploidy cross directions on F1 hybrid offspring fitness are poorly understood. In Arabidopsis thaliana, hybridization between diploid and tetraploid plants can produce viable F1 triploid plants. When selfed, such F1 triploid plants act as aneuploid gamete production "machines" where the vast majority of gametes generated are aneuploid which, following sexual reproduction, can generate aneuploid swarms of F2 progeny (Henry et al. 2009). There is potential for some aneuploids to cause gametophyte abortion and/or F2 seed abortion (Henry et al. 2009). In this study, we analyse the reproductive success of 178 self-fertilized inter-accession F1 hybrid triploids and demonstrate that the proportions of aborted or normally developed F2 seeds from the selfed F1 triploids depend upon a combination of natural variation and cross direction, with strong interaction between these factors. Single-seed ploidy analysis indicates that the embryonic DNA content of phenotypically normal F2 seeds is highly variable and that these DNA content distributions are also affected by genotype and cross direction. Notably, genetically identical reciprocal F1 hybrid triploids display grandparent-of-origin effects on F2 seed set, and hence on the ability to tolerate aneuploidy in F2 seed. There are differences between reciprocal F1 hybrid triploids regarding the proportions of normal and aborted F2 seeds generated, and also for the DNA content averages and distributions of the F2 seeds. To identify genetic variation for tolerance of aneuploidy in F2 seeds, we carried out a GWAS which identified two SNPs, termed MOT and POT, which represent candidate loci for genetic control of the proportion of normal F2 seeds obtained from selfed F1 triploids. Parental and grandparental effects on F2 seeds obtained from selfed F1 triploids can have transgenerational consequences for asymmetric gene flow, emergence of novel genotypes in polyploid populations, and for control of F2 seed set in triploid crops.


Epigenetic; F1 hybrid; Plant evolution; Reproduction; Transgenerational effect; Triploid bridge

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