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Meiotic behavior as a selection tool in the breeding of Brachiaria humidicola (Poaceae)

Boldrini, Kellen Regina, de Victor Adamowski, Eleniza, Message, Hugo, Calisto, Vergílio, Pagliarini, Maria Suely, Valle, Cacilda Borges do
Euphytica 2011 v.182 no.3 pp. 317-324
Urochloa humidicola, agronomic traits, chromosome number, chromosome pairing, chromosome segregation, chromosomes, cultivars, genetic variation, genotype, germ cells, germplasm conservation, grasses, hexaploidy, hybridization, hybrids, meiosis, metaphase, prophase, Brazil
Brachiaria humidicola is a tropical grass that grows in seasonally swampy grasslands in Africa. In Brazil, two apomictic cultivars (2n = 54) of this species are widely used as pastures in poorly drained soils. The recent discovery of a sexual polyploid accession (2n = 36) in the germplasm collection at the Embrapa Beef Cattle Research Center allowed intraspecific hybridization with the objective of broadening the genetic variability and selection of superior genotypes in this species. Hybridization, however, depends on accessions with the same ploidy level. Cytological analyses of 55 accessions revealed that 19 apomictic accessions also presented 2n = 36 chromosomes. Chromosome pairing in hexavalent association at diakinesis and metaphase I suggested that the basic chromosome number for this species is x = 6. Cytological analysis revealed abnormalities in variable frequencies in the meiosis of these hexaploid (2n = 6x = 36) accessions. The most common were those related to irregular chromosome segregation which led to unbalanced gamete formation, but chromosome stickiness was also recorded. These results clearly demonstrate the value of cytogenetics in the choice of genitors and for superior hybrids to be obtained in the breeding of this species. For that both the ploidy level and the frequency of abnormalities need to be considered, besides other favorable agronomic characteristics.