Institute of Genetics - Bulgarian Acadamy of Science

A source with a high percentage of haploid seeds in popcorn
--Toma Dankov, Miglena Kruleva and Zlatka Bojilova

It is known that popcorn ordinarily does not accept for pollination the pollen of the other maize subspecies. During the autumn of 1993 in the sowing area of a population of white popcorn (pearl type), under conditions of free pollination with pollen mainly from horse dent subspecies, two ears with high percentage of xenia and haploid seeds were found (Figure). From a total of 711 seeds (weak and wrinkled) 30 were haploid, or 2.37%. The haploidy was cytologically confirmed.

During 1994 most of the haploid seeds were sown in the field. One part of them did not germinate, another part died at the 5-6th leaf, and only 2 plants reached the flowering stage. The female fertility was expressed by the presence of 6-9 silklets on the small ears, but the tassels were fully sterile. From the normal seeds of those two ears 64 plants were grown. In the freely pollinated ears, about 15% haploid seeds were established.
It is interesting to note that the haploid seeds do not have horny but floury endosperm, which gives us reason to think that it concerns the androgenic but not matroclinous haploidy. The investigations continue mainly in that direction. 

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