... growing and hybridizing all kinds of plants in zone 6b Maryland since the 1980's.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Successful F1 Wheats

The first pictures shows a seedhead emerging from one of my stabilized wheat lines (at least 8 generations of selfing) that I call "Smooth Awnless Club". It was derived from a cross I did many years ago of a common bread wheat as seed parent and 'Pima' club wheat as pollen parent. "Smooth Awnless Club" has the typical compacted seedhead architecture of club wheats. In crosses, the seedhead is usually intermediate in length. This makes it relatively easy to confirm hybridity of intended hybrid seedlings.

Last season I used this "Smooth Awnless Club" as seed parent and 'Black Emmer' as pollen parent. I got a total of five shriveled seeds (this cross is between a hexaploid and tetraploid so may be a little more difficult than same ploidy crosses). Now that the seedlings are heading, I see that three are actual hybrids by their more elongated seedheads. Two are apparent accidental selfings. I'm really excited about all of the possibilities that are contained in this match. From what I've read, future generations should start segregating out lines that tend to be either tetraploid or hexaploid. It should be very obvious which are which, because the gene for compact head structure resides on the D genome. This is the group of 7 pairs of chromosomes that make the hexaploids different from the tetraploids. So hexaploid lines should be club type and tetraploid lines should be elongated. 'Black Emmer' is one of the healthiest wheats that I've grown but it is a "covered wheat" - it doesn't thresh free of its seed coverings. Hopefully I can get the disease resistance and vigor of 'Black Emmer' incorporated into some of my locally adapted club lines and simultaneously introgress the free threshing trait into 'Black Emmer' types. [I have another cross setting seeds right now, that should also help in this direction - it's 'Black Emmer' X 'Kamut']

The very bottom picture shows seedheads from a cross of another of my club lines (I call "Wooly Club") with 'Spelt' wheat. "Wooly Club" is derived from the same original cross that gave "Smooth Awnless Club". From "Wooly Club" X 'Spelt' I got four seeds. All four seedlings have headed out with the same obviously hybrid (elongated) seedheads.

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