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Alien genome mobilization and fixation utilizing an apomixis mediated genome addition (AMGA) strategy in Pennisetum to improve domestication traits of P. squamulatum
Monday, 2022/07/25 | 08:04:00

AK  Roy et al.

Theoretical and Applied Genetics volume 135, pages 2555–2575 (2022)

 

Figure: Pennisetum squamulatum

Key message

An approach to release ‘frozen’ variability in apomictic species using sexuality of another species, eventually its utilization in crop improvement and de-novo domestication of crop wild relatives is presented.

Abstract

Pennisetum squamulatum, a secondary gene pool species of pearl millet (P. glaucum), harbours many desirable traits. However, it was neither utilized to improve pearl millet fodder traits nor improvement of its own domestication traits was attempted, due to the complexities of genomes and apomictic reproduction. To overcome this, we followed an Apomixis Mediated Genome Addition (AMGA) strategy and utilized the contrasting reproductive capacities (sexuality and apomixis) of both the species to access the otherwise un-available variability embedded in P. squamulatum. Segregating population of interspecific hybrids exhibited significant variability and heterosis for desired morphological, agronomical, and nutritional traits. Elite apomictic and perennial hybrids were evaluated in breeding trials, and eventually a novel grass cultivar was released for commercial cultivation in India. The performance of newly developed cultivar was superior to other adapted perennial grasses of arid and semi-arid rangelands. Through AMGA, the sexuality of one species was successfully utilized to ‘release’ the ‘frozen’ variability embedded in another species. Subsequently, the hybrids representing desirable trait combinations were again ‘fixed’ utilizing the apomixis alleles from the male parent in a back-and-forth apomixis-sexual-apomixis selection cycle. This study also demonstrated the potential of AMGA to improve crop relatives through genomes introgression as well as de novo domestication of new crops from wild species.

 

See https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00122-022-04138-4

 

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