Extensive citrus triploid hybrid production by 2x x 4x sexual hybridizations and parent-effect on the length of the juvenile phase
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The citrus fresh market demands the production of seedless citrus fruits, as seedy fruits are not accepted by consumers. The recovery of triploid plants has proven to be the most promising approach to achieve this goal, since triploids have very low fertility, are generally seedless and do not induce seeds in other cultivars by cross pollination. Triploid plants can be recovered by 2x x 4x sexual hybridization. In this work, we present an effective methodology to recover triploid plants from 2x x 4x hybridizations based on in vitro embryo rescue, ploidy level analysis by flow cytometry and genetic origin of triploid plants. The pollen viability of diploid and tetraploid citrus genotypes was analyzed by comparing the pollen germination rate in vitro. The pollen viability of tetraploid (doubled-diploid) genotypes is generally reduced but sufficient for successful pollination. Triploid embryos were identified in normal and undeveloped seeds that did not germinate under greenhouse conditions. The influence of parents and environmental conditions on obtaining triploid plants was analyzed and a strong interaction was noted between the parents and environmental conditions. The parental effect on the length of the juvenile phase was also demonstrated through observations of a large number of progeny over the last 15 years. The juvenile phase length of the triploid hybrids obtained with 'Fortune' mandarin as female parent and tetraploid 'Orlando' tangelo as male parent was shorter than the juvenile phase obtained with a clementine as female parent and tetraploids of 'Nova', 'W. Leaf' and 'Pineapple' male parents. Key message Effective methodology to recover citrus triploid plants from 2x x 4x sexual hybridizations and the parental effect on the length of the juvenile phase.