Maternal inheritance of plant variegation in cowpea, Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp.


A chimeric plant was observed in the F2 generation of a cross between a mutant cultivar, Ife BPC, and a germplasm line, TVu 2, in cowpea, Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp. The chimeric plant had four lateral branches, one of which was intensely variegated, while the others were mostly green with few white sectors. F3 progeny from the intensely variegated branch of this plant were all variegated, while seed derived from the mostly green branches produced only green progeny. In subsequent generations, the descendants of the variegated branch bred true for the variegated trait, while those of the mostly green branches were also true-breeding for green colour. No pure-green or pure-white shoots were observed in any of the variegated plants examined in this study. Consequently, no pure-green or pure-white seedlings were produced from seeds harvested from the variegated plants. The results of reciprocal crosses between variegated and normal green plants indicate that variegation is inherited in a strictly uniparental maternal fashion. This is the first report of a cytoplasmically inherited mutation affecting foliage colour in cowpea.

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Received: 10 March 2000 / Accepted: 16 May 2000

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Fawole, I. Maternal inheritance of plant variegation in cowpea, Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp.. Theor Appl Genet 102, 458–462 (2001).

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  • Keywords Chlorophyll
  • Maternal inheritance
  • Cowpea
  • Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp.