Euphytica 82: 235-240 (1985)

Variation in pollen performance among plants of Fagopyrum esculentum

Thomas Björkman, Cyrus Samimy & Karen J. Pearson

Department of Horticultural Sciences, New York State Agricultural Experiment Station, Cornell University, Geneva, NY 14456-0462

Summary In genetically-heterogeneous outcrossing species, there is the opportunity for selection based on the male gamete. Buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum Moench.) is self-incompatible with one ovule per flower, so pollen competition at each ovule can be studied. The occurrence of selection among pollen parents was determined, as well as the relative importance of prezygotic and post-zygotic selection. Mixed pollinations from two donors produced non-random paternity, with one of the donors being favored about 2:1 on several females. Individual plants showed significant variation in the speed of pollen-tube growth. Therefore, prezygotic selection is likely to have occurred based on the speed of pollen tube growth. In single-donor pollinations, donors had equal success as expected in the absence of post-zygotic selection among donors. However, a significant male x female interaction was found, consistent with postzygotic selection against particular parental combinations. To test whether male fitness is reduced by increased allocation to seed filling during pollen production, large- and small-seeded lines were compared, both as pollen donor and as pollen recipient. The large-seeded line was better in both roles, thus there was no evidence that greater allocation to seeds reduced the quality of the pollen.

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