Intergeneric somatic hybridization in Gramineae: somatic hybrid plants between tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.) and Italian ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum Lam.) Academic Article uri icon


  • Tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.) protoplasts, inactivated by iodoacetamide, and non-morphogenic Italian ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum Lam.) protoplasts, both derived from suspension cultures, were electrofused and putative somatic hybrid plants were recovered. Two different genotypic fusion combinations were carried out and several green plants were regenerated in one of them. With respect to plant habitus, leaf and inflorescence morphology, the regenerants had phenotypes intermediate between those of the parents. Southern hybridization analysis using a rice ribosomal DNA probe revealed that the regenerants contained both tall fescue- and Italian ryegrass-specific-DNA fragments. A cloned Italian ryegrass-specific interspersed DNA probe hybridized to total genomic DNA from Italian ryegrass and from the green regenerated somatic hybrid plants but not to tall fescue. Chromosome counts and zymograms of leaf esterases suggested nuclear genome instability of the somatic hybrid plants analyzed. Four mitochondrial probes and one chloroplast DNA probe were used in Southern hybridization experiments to analyze the organellar composition of the somatic hybrids obtained. The somatic hybrid plants analyzed showed tall fescue, additive or novel mtDNA patterns when hybridized with different mitochondrial gene-specific probes, while corresponding analysis using a chloroplast gene-specific probe revealed in all cases the tall fescue hybridization profile. Independently regenerated F. arundinacea (+) L. multiflorum somatic hybrid plants were successfully transferred to soil and grown to maturity, representing the first flowering intergeneric somatic hybrids recovered in Gramineae.

publication date

  • 1991