Evidence of a partial reproductive barrier between wild and cultivated pearl millets (Pennisetum glaucum)
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The occurrence of seed malformation in association with reduced thousand grain weight and germination ability has been observed in crosses between cultivated female plants and wild male plants. A survey of 16 cultivated accessions (P. glaucum subsp. glaucum) and 11 wild accessions (P. glaucum subsp. monodii) ranging over the whole species diversity showed this postzygotic incompatibility was general, but its intensity varied greatly with the cultivated female accession used and very little with the wild male parent origin. About 15% of the 123 cultivated x wild crosses observed gave normal seeds. Seed malformation has never been observed in crosses between cultivated accessions and appeared independent of genetic distances between the parents. The reciprocal crosses between wild female plants and cultivated male plants gave normal-looking seeds with good germination but consistently reduced thousand grain weight. Both seed malformation and seed small size are an expression of a genetic imbalance. These slight reproductive barriers seem to have been built during the domestication process.
Key wordsdomestication hybrid barrier seed malformation speciation genetic imbalance pearl millet Pennisetum glaucum
International Crop Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics
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