Interspecific hybridization in Sarcococca supported by analysis of ploidy level, genome size and genetic relationships

Hanne Denaeghel, Katrijn Van Laere, Leen Leus, Johan Van Huylenbroeck, Marie-Christine Van Labeke

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    Knowledge of ploidy level differences, genome size and genetic relationships between species facilitates interspecific hybridization in ornamentals. For Sarcococca (Buxaceae) only limited (cyto)genetic information is available. The aim of this study was to determine the genome size and chromosome number and to unravel the genetic relationships of a breeder’s collection using AFLP marker analysis. Based on these results, interspecific crosses were made and the efficiency and hybrid status was verified. Two groups of diploid plants (2n = 2x = 24) were observed, with either a genome size of 4.11–4.20 or 7.25–9.63 pg/2C. All the tetraploid genotypes (2n = 4x = 48) had genome sizes ranging from 7.91 to 8.18 pg/2C. In crosses between parents with equal ploidy level and genome size a higher crossing efficiency (on average 58% of the hybridizations resulting in fruits) and more true hybrids (on average 96% of the offspring) were obtained compared to crosses between plants with different genome size and ploidy level (on average 23% fruits and 24% hybrids, respectively). In none of the cross combinations, the ploidy level or genome size was found to be a complete hybridization barrier, although unilateral incongruity was found in some cross combinations. Distant genetic relationships did not hamper the hybridization within Sarcococca genotypes. Our findings will contribute to a more efficient breeding program and a faster achievement of hybrids with an added value.
    Original languageEnglish
    Issue number7
    Publication statusPublished - Jul-2017


    • Flow cytometry
    • Ornamental breeding
    • Chromosome counts
    • Buxaceae

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