Cytogenetic and evolutionary studies in Secale. I. Some new data on the ancestry of S. cereale

Khush, Gurdev S. ; Stebbins, G. Ledyard (1961) Cytogenetic and evolutionary studies in Secale. I. Some new data on the ancestry of S. cereale American Journal of Botany, 48 (8). pp. 723-730. ISSN 0002-9122

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ultivated rye, Secale cereale, was crossed with all 4 wild species of the genus. It crosses readily with S. montanum, S. africanum, and S. vavilovii, but crossability of S. cereale and S. silvestre is extremely low. Meiosis in the hybrid S. cereale x silvestre is characterized by high frequency of univalents at metaphase I, reduced chiasma frequency at metaphase I, high frequency of PMC's with unequal separations and laggards at anaphase I and II, high frequency of microspores with micronuclei, and extremely low pollen fertility. These abnormalities occurred less frequently in other hybrids, and consequently the pollen fertility is fairly high: 19.1% in the hybrid S. cereale x vavilovii and 31.3% and 31.8%, respectively, in the hybrids S. cereale x montanum and S. cereale x africanum. An interesting cytogenetic feature of all these hybrids, however, was the formation of a translocation configuration of 6 chromosomes at metaphase I of meiosis. In the hybrid, S. cereale x silvestre, a translocation configuration of 8 chromosomes was observed in a few cells. It is evident, therefore, that the genome of S. cereale differs from the genomes of wild species by 2 translocations. Another small translocation may differentiate S. cereale and S. silvestre, in addition. Thus, on the basis of chromosome arrangements, no particular wild species is most likely to be ancestral to S. cereale. Similarly, Stutz's hypothesis of hybrid origin of S. cereale seems highly improbable. After considering ecological preferences, breeding habits, geographical distribution, morphological and cytological affinities of wild species and cultivated rye, it is concluded that S. cereale evolved from S. montanum as a result of progressive cytological and morphological differentiation and that this differentiation was facilitated, probably, by adaptive superiority of translocation heterozygotes and rearrangement homozygotes.

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