Various genes for disease resistance identified in wild Lactuca are difficult, even impossible to exploit in lettuce breeding, due to sexual incompatibility between L. sativa and wild Lactuca sp. We adapted two cellular biology techniques to overcome these interspecific barriers: in vitro embryo rescue and protoplast fusion. In vitro rescue of immature embryos was used successfully for sexual hybridization between L. sativa and L. virosa. Vigorous hybrid plants were produced between L. sativa and seven accessions of L. virosa. Protoplast fusion permitted the regeneration of somatic hybrids between L. sativa and either L. tatarica or L. perennis. Hybrids between L. sativa and L. tatarica were backcrossed to L. sativa.
Key wordsLactuca sativa Lactuca virosa Lactuca tatarica Lactuca perennis Iettuce sexual hybridization embryo rescue somatic hybridization protoplast fusion
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