Wild species, invaluable resources for breeding new ornamental crops
In order to introduce novel ornamental crops several steps must be followed. The first step is domestication, where wild plants must evolve into crops. During domestication, plants are artificially selected considering attractive traits, such as plant habit, flower color and size, flowering times, etc., among many others. During selection, plant phenology and cytogenetic characterization plays important roles. Domestication also involves early hybridization, which has a major role to combine coveted traits into single genotypes. In order to succeed in the generation of new cultivars, genetic variation is one of the most important aspects. The gene pool must be as wide as possible, including as many species and/or varieties as possible, these, with different colors, color shades, shapes, habits, etc., to be able to combine all the desired traits. This is achieved by hybridization, which can be intra-and inter-specific, and even inter-generic in some cases. Sometimes, pre- and post-fertilization barriers are present in some species, in order to prevent hybridization. These barriers can be overcome by special pollination techniques and ovule and embryo rescue. In this work, we present results of our breeding programs involving hybridization of crops with wild species, with the aim to combine novel traits to crops, traits that are not present today. Some examples include the genera Eustoma of the Gentianaceae family, Polianthes, of the Asparagaceae family, Lilium, of the Liliaceae family and Sprekelia and Zephyranthes, of the Amaryllidaceae family.
Barba-Gonzalez, R., Tapia-Campos, E. and Rodriguez-Domínguez, J.M. (2020). Wild species, invaluable resources for breeding new ornamental crops. Acta Hortic. 1283, 105-120
hybridization, interspecific hybridization, selection