, Volume 28, Issue 1, pp 57–65 | Cite as

Triple fusion of the primary endosperm nucleus as a cause of interspecific cross-incompatibility in Avena

  • Ichizo Nishiyama
  • Tomosaburo Yabuno


Using five diploid, two tetraploid and three hexaploid Avena species (x=7) 78 reciprocal crosses were made. Of these 74 were successfull, though the frequency of seed set varied greatly. The development of hybrid seeds differed widely between cross combinations, especially in reciprocal crosses. Hybrid seeds were grouped into four types, (1) normal kernels, well developed and germinative (designated as D+); (2) shrivelled-empty kernels, which do not germinate (E−); (3) small viable kernels (Rd+) and (4) small inviable kernels (Rd−). Some rare intermediate types were found in certain crosses.

The results are well interpreted in terms of a hypothesis of polar-nuclei activation in which the strength of the activating action of the male nucleus, and the reaction of the female nucleus at double fertilization are expressed as ‘activating value(AV)’ and ‘response value(RV)’, respectively. The degree of seed failure is closely related to the activation index(AI) of the polar nuclei, AV/2RV (or × 100). In a selfed plant the activation index is always 1/2=0.5 (or50%), and this usually results in the formation of normal seeds. If AI deviates from 50% the endosperm often stops developing or degenerates.

Based on the degree of abnormality of hybrid seeds, activating values of the ten species were arbitrarily assigned from 0.4 in A. ventricosa (2x) to 3.0 in A.sterilis (6x). For comparison A.strigosa (2x) was used as a standard and set at 1.0. Among the 74 succesful interspecific crosses the AI of the polar nuclei varied widely, from 7 to 375% Generally speaking, AI values of less than 20, 20–30, 30–80, and more than 80% show the R-, Rd+, D+ and E-kernel types, respectively. In other words, if the AV of the pollen parent is < 40 or >160% that of the maternal parent hybrid seeds fail to develop. Thus in double fertilization of Avena or probably angiosperms, the triple fusion of two polar nuclei with a secondary male nucleus is apparently a sexual isolation mechanism, being a barrier to interspecific hybridization.

Index words

Avena sp. oats interspecific cross cross-incompatibility 


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Copyright information

© H. Veenman En Zonen B.V. 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ichizo Nishiyama
    • 1
  • Tomosaburo Yabuno
    • 2
  1. 1.KyotoJapan
  2. 2.College of AgricultureUniversity of Osaka PrefectureOsakaJapan

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