Key words Maize anther culture
Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract Efficient methods of chromosome doubling are critical for the production of microspore-derived, doubled-haploid ( = DH) plants, especially if, as in maize anther culture, spontaneous chromosome doubling occurs infrequently. In the present study, colchicine (5–1000 mg/l) was added to the induction medium and maize anthers were incubated in the colchicine-containing medium for different durations (1–7 days). In order to improve overall anther culture response, the culture temperature was adjusted to 14 ·C during the first 7 days. Colchicine applied at low concentration, i.e. 5 mg/l (7 days), or for short duration, i.e. 1–3 days (250 mg/l), showed beneficial effects on the formation of embryo-like structures ( = ES) and thus led to increased plant production, but was comparatively ineffective regarding chromosome doubling. Optimal doubling effects were observed when anthers had been exposed to culture medium containing 250 and 1000 mg/l of colchicine (7 days); in these treatments the doubling index ( = DI), defined as the quotient of the number of DH plants and the number of totally regenerated plants in a specific treatment, rose to 0.56 and 0.53, respectively, compared to 0.20 in the untreated control. However, colchicine administered at concentrations higher than 250 mg/l seemed to be detrimental to general plant production; thus, in spite of a high DI, the overall DH plant production was even lower than in the control treatment. Maximum DH plant production for three different genotypes was accomplished with culture medium containing 250 mg/l of colchicine (7 days). With the best-responding genotype (ETH-M 36) a DH plant production of 9.9 DH plants/100 anthers was accomplished, i.e. a 7-fold increase compared to the non-treated anthers. This is the first report on efficient chromosome doubling in anther culture by subjecting anthers to colchicine-containing induction medium during a post-plating cold treatment. Chromosome doubling as described here becomes an integral part of the maize anther culture protocol and thus represents a rapid and economical way to produce DH plants.
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