The gene flow mediated by unreduced gametes between diploid and tetraploid plants of the Medicago sativa–coerulea–falcata complex is pivotal for alfalfa breeding. Sexually tetraploidized hybrids could represent the best way to exploit progressive heterosis simultaneously derived from gene diversity, heterozygosity, and polyploidy. Moreover, unreduced gametes combined with parthenogenesis (i.e., apomixis) would enable the cloning of plants through seeds, providing a unique opportunity for the selection of superior genotypes with permanently fixed heterosis. This reproductive strategy has never been detected in the genus Medicago, but features of apomixis, such as restitutional apomeiosis and haploid parthenogenesis, have been reported. By means of an original case study, we demonstrated that sexually tetraploidized plants maintain apomeiosis, but this trait is developmentally independent from parthenogenesis. Alfalfa meiotic mutants producing unreduced egg cells revealed a null or very low capacity for parthenogenesis. The overall achievements reached so far are reviewed and discussed along with the efforts and strategies made for exploiting reproductive mutants that express apomictic elements in alfalfa breeding programs. Although several studies have investigated the cytological mechanisms responsible for 2n gamete formation and the inheritance of this trait, only a very small number of molecular markers and candidate genes putatively linked to unreduced gamete formation have been identified. Furthermore, this scenario has remained almost unchanged over the last two decades. Here, we propose a reverse genetics approach, by exploiting the genomic and transcriptomic resources available in alfalfa. Through a comparison with 9 proteins belonging to Arabidopsis thaliana known for their involvement in 2n gamete production, we identified 47 orthologous genes and evaluated their expression in several tissues, paving the way for novel candidate gene characterization studies. An overall view on strategies suitable to fill the gap between well‐established meiotic mutants and next‐generation genomic resources is presented and discussed.

A review of unreduced gametes and neopolyploids in alfalfa: How to fill the gap between well‐established meiotic mutants and next‐generation genomic resources

Palumbo F.;Pasquali E.;Albertini E.;Barcaccia G.
2021

Abstract

The gene flow mediated by unreduced gametes between diploid and tetraploid plants of the Medicago sativa–coerulea–falcata complex is pivotal for alfalfa breeding. Sexually tetraploidized hybrids could represent the best way to exploit progressive heterosis simultaneously derived from gene diversity, heterozygosity, and polyploidy. Moreover, unreduced gametes combined with parthenogenesis (i.e., apomixis) would enable the cloning of plants through seeds, providing a unique opportunity for the selection of superior genotypes with permanently fixed heterosis. This reproductive strategy has never been detected in the genus Medicago, but features of apomixis, such as restitutional apomeiosis and haploid parthenogenesis, have been reported. By means of an original case study, we demonstrated that sexually tetraploidized plants maintain apomeiosis, but this trait is developmentally independent from parthenogenesis. Alfalfa meiotic mutants producing unreduced egg cells revealed a null or very low capacity for parthenogenesis. The overall achievements reached so far are reviewed and discussed along with the efforts and strategies made for exploiting reproductive mutants that express apomictic elements in alfalfa breeding programs. Although several studies have investigated the cytological mechanisms responsible for 2n gamete formation and the inheritance of this trait, only a very small number of molecular markers and candidate genes putatively linked to unreduced gamete formation have been identified. Furthermore, this scenario has remained almost unchanged over the last two decades. Here, we propose a reverse genetics approach, by exploiting the genomic and transcriptomic resources available in alfalfa. Through a comparison with 9 proteins belonging to Arabidopsis thaliana known for their involvement in 2n gamete production, we identified 47 orthologous genes and evaluated their expression in several tissues, paving the way for novel candidate gene characterization studies. An overall view on strategies suitable to fill the gap between well‐established meiotic mutants and next‐generation genomic resources is presented and discussed.
File in questo prodotto:
Non ci sono file associati a questo prodotto.
Pubblicazioni consigliate

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11577/3402057
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? 0
  • Scopus 2
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? 1
social impact