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Fitness estimation through performance comparison of F1 hybrids with their parental species Oryza rufipogon and O. sativa

Song, Z.P., Lu, B.R., Wang, B., Chen, J.K.
Annals of botany 2004 v.93 no.3 pp. 311-316
Oryza sativa, Oryza rufipogon, interspecific hybridization, introgression, hybrids, gene flow, seed germination, seedlings, mortality, leaf area, tillering, inflorescences, pollen germination, self-pollination, seed set, backcrossing, heterosis, natural selection, China
Background and Aims: Introgression of crop genes into populations of wild relatives has important implications for germplasm conservation as well as for the persistence of novel transgenes in wild populations. Studies of hybrid fitness can be used to evaluate the potential for introgression to occur following episodes of interspecific hybridization. Methods: This study estimated relative fitness of interspecific hybrids through performance comparison of F1 hybrids with their parental species, a cultivated rice (Oryza sativa) Minghui-63 and perennial common wild rice (O. rufipogon) under the cultivation conditions. Key Results: Compared with their parents, the hybrids had the lowest values of seedling survival ability, pollen viability and seed production; intermediate values of seed germination, spikelet production and flag leaf areas; and the highest values of plant height, number of tillers and panicles. The hybrids performed poorly at the stage of sexual reproduction, although they had a slightly higher hybrid vigour at the vegetative growth stage and better tillering ability than their wild parent. There were no significant differences in composite fitness across the whole life-history between the hybrids and their wild parental species. Conclusions: Rice genes, including transgenes, might persist in wild rice populations through vegetative and sexual reproduction. Further studies are needed to examine whether the extent of gene flow from rice is sufficiently significant to influence genetic diversity in wild populations of O. rufipogon, a species that has become endangered in some regions of south-east Asia.