Protoplast Fusion for the Production of Intermonoploid Somatic Hybrids in Cultivated Potato


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Virginia Tech


Monoploid potato genotypes represent plant material that is free from the "genetic load" of lethal and severely deleterious alleles normally present in the highly heterozygous cultivated potato species. Field evaluations enabled the identification of agronomically superior monoploid potato genotypes from a population of more than 100 anther-derived monoploids. Chemical fusion and electrofusion between pairs selected from 31 superior monoploids resulted in the production of three different groups of intermonoploid somatic hybrids.

The hybridity of somatic hybrid plants and calluses was confirmed through PCR-based amplification of simple sequence repeat (SSR) sequences in the potato genome. Polymorphic SSR loci between the monoploid parents of a particular group of somatic hybrids were used to separate true somatic hybrids (heterozygous at the loci) from parental somaclones regenerating from unfused protoplasts (homozygous for one parental band at the loci).

One group of somatic hybrids (SH1, SH2 and SH2B) was of particular interest because it resulted from the fusion of a S. phureja monoploid to a high acetylleptinidine-producing monoploid derived from an F1 hybrid between S. chacoense and S. phureja. The leptine acetylleptinidine (ALD) is produced only by some accessions of S. chacoense Bitt. and provides resistance to feeding by the Colorado potato beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata Say) when present in sufficient concentrations. The somatic hybrids produced moderate levels of ALD in leaves and stems (roughly 60% that of a high ALD-producing S. chacoense clone).

Pollinations of SH1, SH2 and SH2B by several diploid and tetraploid potato clones resulted in three fruit on SH2, one fruit on SH2B and no fruit on SH1. Two resulting progeny populations of SH2 [SH2A = SH2 × S. andigena 8-1 (4x); SH2P = SH2 × S. phureja 66AP11-53 (2x)] expressed higher fertility than the original somatic hybrids and were sexually crossed as both male and female parents to S. tuberosum cv. Atlantic. All of the SH2 progeny populations expressed acetylleptinidines, albeit at lower levels than the SH2 somatic hybrid, providing strong evidence that the genes controlling acetylleptinidine production are dominant. Variation for ALD expression in the SH2 progeny indicated one or a few genes with additive effect controlling the ALD trait. In addition, the choice of male parent in sexual crosses to SH2 affected subsequent ALD expression in progeny populations. The SH2 progeny represent an important first step towards transferring acetylleptinidines to cultivated potato.

SH1, SH2 and SH2B appeared to be negatively affected by an unusually high ploidy (hexaploid, 6x). Field-grown plants produced many tubers (mean = 35) of low weight (mean = 10.4 g) and were stunted in appearance. Anther culture of SH2 yielded triploid regenerants (3x). These regenerants may be more phenotypically normal than the original somatic hybrids because of lower ploidy. Segregation of SSR alleles in the triploid anther culture regenerants provided evidence that the hexaploid somatic hybrid SH2 genome is comprised of four homologous genomes of CP2-103 (the high leptine-producing monoploid) and two homologous genomes of 13-14 203 (the S. phureja monoploid).



monoploid, Solanum tuberosum, electrofusion, simple sequence repeats (SSRs), leptines, protoplast