Viability and longevity of pollen from transgenic and nontransgenic tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea ) (Poaceae) plants Academic Article uri icon


  • Pollen is an important vector of gene flow in plants, particularly for outcrossing species like tall fescue. Several aspects of pollination biology were investigated using pollen from transgenic and nontransgenic plants of tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.), the most important forage species worldwide of the Festuca genus. To effectively assess in vitro pollen viability in tall fescue, an optimized germination medium (0.8 mol/L sucrose, 1.28 mmol/L boric acid and 1.27 mmol/L calcium nitrate) was developed. Treatment with relatively high temperatures (36° and 40°C) and high doses of UV-B irradiation (900-1500 μW/cm(2)) reduced pollen viability, while relative humidity did not significantly influence pollen viability. Viability of pollen from transgenic progenies (T1 and T2) was similar to that from seed-derived control plants. Pollen from primary transgenics (T0) and primary regenerants (R0) had various levels of viability. Hand pollination using the primary regenerants and transgenics revealed that no seed set could be obtained when pollen viability was lower than 5%. Pollen from transgenic progenies and nontransgenic control plants could survive up to 22 h under controlled conditions in growth chamber. However, under sunny atmospheric conditions, viability of transgenic and nontransgenic pollen reduced to 5% in 30 min, with a complete loss of viability in 90 min. Under cloudy atmospheric conditions, pollen remained viable up to 240 min, with about 5% viability after 150 min. This report is the first on pollen viability and longevity in transgenic forage grasses and could be useful for risk assessment of transgenic plants.

publication date

  • April 2004