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Chimeric inheritance of organelle DNA in variegated leaf seedlings from inter-subgeneric crossing of azalea

Kobayashi, Nobuo, Matsunaga, Masashi, Nakatsuka, Akira, Mizuta, Daiki, Shigyo, Masayoshi, Akabane, Masaru
Euphytica 2013 v.191 no.1 pp. 121-128
Rhododendron, albino, hybrids, inheritance (genetics), leaves, nuclear genome, parents, plastid DNA, progeny, reciprocal crosses, seedlings
The inheritance of organelle DNA was investigated using PCR–RFLP markers in reciprocal cross combinations of inter-subgeneric azalea hybrids between evergreen azaleas (Rhododendron nakaharai and its hybrids) and fragrant deciduous azaleas (R. arborescens and R. viscosum) for the purpose of breeding fragrant evergreen azaleas. The hybrid progenies included green leaf, pale green leaf, variegated leaf and albino seedlings. Most viable green leaf seedlings had inherited ptDNA from the deciduous parent and non-viable albino and pale green leaf seedlings had inherited ptDNA from the evergreen parent. On the other hand, variegated leaf seedlings had chimerically inherited ptDNA from both parents. Their green leaf segments had ptDNA from the deciduous parent, and the pale green and white segments had biparental or maternal ptDNA depending on the progeny. In this study, we obtained interesting inter-subgeneric azalea hybrid progenies that had chimerically inherited organelle DNA and had different colored leaf segments corresponding to the composition of ptDNA from each parent. These results suggest that variegated leaf progenies with chimeric ptDNA from both parents can be subsistent, whereas albino seedlings resulting from plastome–genome incompatibility between the plastid genome from evergreen azalea and the nuclear genome from deciduous azalea are non-viable.