, Volume 90, Issue 1, pp 84-88

“Cuckoo” Aegilops addition chromosome in wheat ensures its transmission by causing chromosome breaks in meiospores lacking it

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Abstract

In monosomic additions of Aegilops sharonensis to Chinese Spring wheat (2n=42 wheat chromosomes + 1 homoeologous group 4 Aegilops chromosome known as 4S1), probably all functional gametes carried one Aegilops chromosome. Such preferential transmission is unusual in monosomic alien additions. Male and female meiosis seemed usually normal, but about 75% of embryo sacs and 28% of pollen grains were visibly abnormal near anthesis. Before the first gametophyte mitosis, up to about 13% of megaspores and pollen grains showed abnormalities usual in wheat aneuploids. However, in first mitosis, 50% of megaspores at metaphase and anaphase and 41% of pollen grains at anaphase and telophase contained acentric chromosome (or chromatid) segments of various sizes, up to about 32 in a cell, which were separated from the rest of the chromosome (or chromatid) by a gap or a thin Feulgen-positive thread. Such separated segments (SSs) are not normally seen in wheat and its aneuploids. The data indicat that alien and wheat chromosomes interact in meiocytes so that meiospores with the alien chromosome develop into normal gametophytes, but meiospores lacking the alien chromosome have SSs at first mitosis by whose loss or unequal distribution between daughter nuclei sterilizing deficiencies arise. Thus only gametophytes with the alien chromosome are competent.