"Doubled-haploid" allohexaploid Brassica lines lose fertility and viability and accumulate genetic variation due to genomic instability

Margaret W. Mwathi, Sarah V. Schiessl, Jacqueline Batley, Annaliese S. Mason

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Microspore culture stimulates immature pollen grains to develop into plants via tissue culture and is used routinely in many crop species to produce "doubled haploids": homozygous, true-breeding lines. However, microspore culture is also often used on material that does not have stable meiosis, such as interspecific hybrids. In this case, the resulting progeny may lose their "doubled haploid" homozygous status as a result of chromosome missegregation and homoeologous exchanges. However, little is known about the frequency of these effects. We assessed fertility, meiosis and genetic variability in self-pollinated progeny sets (the MDL2 population) resulting from first-generation plants (the MDL1 population) derived from microspores of a near-allohexaploid interspecific hybrid from the cross (Brassica napus × B. carinata) × B. juncea. Allelic inheritance and copy number variation were predicted using single nucleotide polymorphism marker data from the Illumina Infinium 60K Brassica array. Seed fertility and viability decreased substantially from the MDL1 to the MDL2 generation. In the MDL2 population, 87% of individuals differed genetically from their MDL1 parent. These genetic differences resulted from novel homoeologous exchanges between chromosomes, chromosome loss and gain, and segregation and instability of pre-existing karyotype abnormalities. Novel karyotype change was extremely common, with 2.2 new variants observed per MDL2 individual. Significant differences between progeny sets in the number of novel genetic variants were also observed. Meiotic instability clearly has the potential to dramatically change karyotypes (often without detectable effects on the presence or absence of alleles) in putatively homozygous, microspore-derived lines, resulting in loss of fertility and viability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)521-532
Number of pages12
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019


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