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ARS Home » Plains Area » Fargo, North Dakota » Edward T. Schafer Agricultural Research Center » Sunflower and Plant Biology Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #370409

Research Project: Genetic Enhancement of Sunflower Yield and Tolerance to Biotic Stress

Location: Sunflower and Plant Biology Research

Title: Mating compatibility and fertility studies in an herbaceous perennial Aster undergoing de novo domestication to enhance agroecosystems

item REINERT, STEPHAN - University Of Colorado
item PRICE, JOHN - University Of Minnesota
item SMART, BRIAN - North Dakota State University
item POGODA, CLOE - University Of Colorado
item KANE, NOLAN - University Of Colorado
item VAN TASSEL, DAVID - University Of Colorado
item Hulke, Brent

Submitted to: Agronomy for Sustainable Development
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/30/2020
Publication Date: 7/20/2020
Citation: Reinert, S., Price, J.N., Smart, B.C., Pogoda, C.S., Kane, N.C., Van Tassel, D.L., Hulke, B.S. 2020. Mating compatibility and fertility studies in an herbaceous perennial Aster undergoing de novo domestication to enhance agroecosystems. Agronomy for Sustainable Development. 40:27.

Interpretive Summary: While many useful crops have been developed long ago, there is a need for new crops that can fill new functions, including better use of water and nutrients, and that can more rapidly build soil fertility. One type of prairie plant, Silphium, is documented to have withstood the dust bowl years of the 1930s without withering. We propose to develop this into a forage and seed oil crop, but in order to do so, we need to know more about how it produces seeds. Our work shows that it has a flexible mode of reproduction, it randomly mates with surrounding plants like most prairie plants do; however, it can also self-pollinate like many crop plants. Two species within the Silphium group of plants also can cross-pollinate with each other, providing additional genetic variability which can be used by crop breeders to enhance Silphium for multiple uses.

Technical Abstract: De novo domestication has received recent attention because of the potential to produce new crop species with niche agroecosystem functions and useful products for climate-resilient agricultural systems of the future. However, there are often deficiencies in wild species that make them difficult to domesticate, including the lack of a mating system that is compatible with preferred plant breeding methods and the lack of standing variation for improvement of certain traits. We evaluated a continuum of mating from self-pollination to interspecific hybridization in Silphium integrifolium and S. perfoliatum to determine the extent of possible gene flow between the species, and the potential for fixation of favorable domestication genes by sib-mating and self-pollination. Our results indicate that interspecific hybrids can be developed, potentially facilitating movement of traits from one species to another. Further, self-pollination is also possible in both species and their interspecific hybrids, but the rate is variable based on genotype. This has profound implications for using standard plant breeding and plant genetic methods in the study and improvement of these species.