CHESTNUT HILL, MASSACHUSETTS

Boston College

The prospect of using doubled haploids in breeding

--Y. C. Ting and K. Delorey

In the last few years many spontaneously doubled haploids via anther culture were obtained. However, more than 50 percent of these plants showed chlorophyll deficiency of varying degrees and died before they reached adult stage of growth. The other about 40 percent demonstrated abnormalities of different kinds: some died of lethal seedlings; others, of lodging, still others, of disease and insect attacks. Hence, only two to three percent of the doubled haploids survived and grew into reproductive stage. However, as soon as they had attained silking and anthesis period, some manifested protogynous characteristics. All of these hindered proper processes of fertilization and setting seeds, even though those processes were carried out under controlled operation. When we took all of the above into account only a very few percent of the regenerated plants were left for reproduction. By going through all of the effort, several genetically stable doubled haploids (inbreds) were selected (Ting and Gu, 1990). Those doubled haploids were crossed with several commercial inbreds such as B73. It was found that one of the combinations was outstanding in yield. It was estimated that this hybrid combination produced more than 200 bushels of grains per acre. During the growth period here, the hybrid plants were vigorous and free from diseases or insect pests. Therefore, it seems likely that through anther culture, genetically stable inbreds can be obtained and applied in a productive breeding program.


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