Mixing of maize and wheat genomic DNA by somatic hybridization in regenerated sterile maize plants

B. Szarka, I. Göntér, M. Molnár-Láng, S. Mórocz, D. Dudits

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25 Citations (Scopus)


Intergeneric somatic hybridization was performed between albino maize (Zea mays L.) protoplasts and mesophyll protoplasts of wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) by polyethylene glycol (PEG) treatments. None of the parental protoplasts were able to produce green plants without fusion. The maize cells regenerated only rudimentary albino plantlets of limited viability, and the wheat mesophyll protoplasts were unable to divide. PEG-mediated fusion treatments resulted in hybrid cells with mixed cytoplasm. Six months after fusion green embryogenic calli were selected as putative hybrids. The first-regenerates were discovered as aborted embryos. Regeneration of intact, green, maize-like plants needed 6 months of further subcultures on hormone-free medium. These plants were sterile, although had both male and female flowers. The cytological analysis of cells from callus tissues and root tips revealed 56 chromosomes, but intact wheat chromosomes were not observed. Using total DNA from hybrid plants, three RAPD primer combinations produced bands resembling the wheat profile. Genomic in situ hybridization (GISH) using total wheat DNA as a probe revealed the presence of wheat DNA islands in the maize chromosomal background. The increased viability and the restored green color were the most-significant new traits as compared to the original maize parent. Other intermediate morphological traits of plants with hybrid origin were not found.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalTheoretical and Applied Genetics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2002


  • In situ hybridization
  • Polyethylene glycol
  • Protoplast fusion
  • RAPD analysis
  • Somatic hybrid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Genetics

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