Location: Vegetable Crops Research Unit
Title: Matryoshka: A new floral mutant in wild potato Authors
Submitted to: American Journal of Potato Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: January 3, 2014
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Potato is the world's leading vegetable. Unlike rice, wheat and corn, it is not a seed crop. Nevertheless, genetic resources in the wild and in the genebank, as well as potato breeding, all depend on an understanding of the potato flowers that produce potato seeds and fruits. In addition, knowledge about potato flowers and fruit may have application in the very closely-related and important fruit crops of tomato, peppers, and eggplant. We discovered a novel flower mutant in the wild potato species Solanum stoloniferum form fendleri growing in the mountains of southern Arizona. This mutant has successive layers of nested flowers so was named matryoshka after the similarly nested Russian dolls. We made hybrids to reveal its inheritance and development. We have preserved stocks of this mutant in the US Potato Genebank to make it readily available for further study by other potato researchers worldwide.
Technical Abstract: A population of the wild potato S. stoloniferum form fendleri (PI 660270) was collected as botanical seeds in the Santa Rita Mountains near Green Valley, Arizona, USA in fall 2010. Original seeds planted for multiplication at the genebank produced two plants with extra whorls of petals, sometimes fused with anthers, and, most remarkably, successive whorls of petals, anthers and carpels nested inside the primary carpel. This mutant was named matryoshka after the similarly nested Russian dolls. Floral morphology of mutants varies. While matryoshka shares the characteristic of indeterminate floral meristem development of Crazy Sepal mutant in the wild potato Solanum microdontum, it can have nearly normal male and female fertility in some individuals. Crossing studies indicate that the mutant form is dominant. Expression of the mutant may vary over the flowering cycle of the plant, with earlier flowers appearing mutant and later flowers appearing normal. Tests for pathogens were negative. Flower development mutants are of interest considering the potential for manipulating interspecific crossability, apomixis, and virus elimination in potato, and their usefulness may be extended to the important closely-related fruit crops of tomato, pepper, and eggplant. Matryoshka could also be useful in studies of potato adaptation in the wild: For example, seedless matryoshka fruit may serve as decoys to suppress the seed-eating larvae of Odenicarena fruit flies and Cecidomyiid gall flies which are especially prevalent in the area where the mutant originates.