plant breeding: back crossing

Dana Ann Dudle ddudle at
Mon Oct 25 16:43:09 EST 1999

One of the most interesting effects of repeated backcrossing is that you
can get the nuclear genome of one line (the pollen parent in the original
cross and all subsequent backcrosses) in the cytoplasmic environment of
the other genetic line.  This is especially useful when trying to
determine the effects of cytoplasmic genes (e.g., cytoplasmic male
sterility alleles).

This phenomenon also occurs in nature, in hybrid zones between species--
the cytoplasmic genes of one species will be present in plants that carry
nuclear markers for a different species, indicating that a hybridization
event occurred several generations ago followed by backcrossing with one
of the parent species.  I will try to remember some references and post
them... this has been shown in Helianthus by Loren Rieseberg et al., but I
am sure that it has been studied in other taxa as well. 

Dana A. Dudle                   
Dept. of Biological Sciences
DePauw University
Greencastle, IN  46135
ddudle at

Thomas Finlay <tomrfin at> wrote:
> Hello. Can anyone direct to information on the effects of back crossing
> (if I understand this correctly, crossing the seed grown offspring of a
> plant with pollen from one of its "children.").

> Thank you

> Tom Finlay
> Deer Island, Oregon

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