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Improving the Efficiency of Colchicine-Based Chromosomal Doubling of Maize Haploids

Published: 5 April 2020
 by  MDPI
 in Plants

Abstract: Production and use of doubled haploids (DH) is becoming an essential part of maize breeding programs worldwide as DH lines offer several advantages in line development and evaluation. One of the critical steps in maize DH line production is doubling the chromosomes of in vivo-derived haploids so that naturally sterile haploids become reproductively fertile diploids (DH) to produce seed. This step of artificially doubling the chromosomes is labor-intensive and costly; hence, optimizing protocols to improve the doubling success is critical for achieving efficiencies in the DH production pipelines. Immersion of 3–4-day old germinating haploid seedlings in colchicine solution is commonly used for chromosome doubling in large-scale maize DH line production. This manuscript presents a new method of colchicine application to haploid seedlings that showed superior doubling rates compared to other methods like standard seedling immersion, seed immersion, root immersion, and direct application of colchicine solution to the seedlings at V2 stage in the greenhouse trays. The new method involves immersing the crown region of the haploid seedlings along with all the seedling roots at V2 stage in the colchicine solution. Further experiments to optimize this method indicated that increasing colchicine concentration had a very positive effect on overall success rate in chromosomal doubling, while not drastically affecting survival rate. The optimized method showed on average 5.6 times higher overall success rate (OSR) compared to the standard haploid seedling immersion method which was the second-best method in our experiments. This improved method of colchicine application saves resources by reducing the number of haploids to be generated and handled in a maize DH production pipeline.
Keywords: maize / haploid / chromosome doubling / colchicine / doubled haploid

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