Journal Article

Seven of eight species in <i>Nicotiana</i> section <i>Suaveolentes</i> have common factors leading to hybrid lethality in crosses with <i>Nicotiana tabacum</i>

Takahiro Tezuka, Tsutomu Kuboyama, Toshiaki Matsuda and Wataru Marubashi

in Annals of Botany

Published on behalf of The Annals of Botany Company

Volume 106, issue 2, pages 267-276
Published in print August 2010 | ISSN: 0305-7364
Published online June 2010 | e-ISSN: 1095-8290 | DOI:
Seven of eight species in Nicotiana section Suaveolentes have common factors leading to hybrid lethality in crosses with Nicotiana tabacum

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  • Ecology and Conservation
  • Evolutionary Biology
  • Plant Sciences and Forestry


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Background and Aims

Reproductive isolation is a mechanism that separates species, and is classified into two types: prezygotic and postzygotic. Inviability of hybrids, or hybrid lethality, is a type of postzygotic isolation and is observed in some plant species, including Nicotiana species. Previous work has shown that the Q chromosome, which belongs to the S subgenome of N. tabacum, encodes one or more genes leading to hybrid lethality in some crosses.


Interspecific crosses of eight wild species were conducted in section Suaveolentes (which consists of species restricted to Australasia and Africa) with the cultivated species Nicotiana tabacum. Hybrid seedlings were cultivated at 28, 34 or 36 °C, and PCR and chromosome analysis were performed.

Results and Conclusions

Seven of eight wild species produced inviable hybrids after crossing. Hybrid lethality, which was observed in all crosses at 28 °C, was Type II lethality, with the characteristic symptoms of browning of hypocotyl and roots; lethality was suppressed at elevated temperatures (34 or 36 °C). Furthermore, one or more genes on the Q chromosome of N. tabacum were absolutely responsible for hybrid lethality, suggesting that many species of section Suaveolentes share the same factor that triggers hybrid lethality by interaction with the genes on the Q chromosome. Exceptionally, only one wild species, N. fragrans, produced 100 % viable hybrids after crossing with N. tabacum, suggesting that N. fragrans has no factor triggering hybrid lethality.

Keywords: Hybrid lethality; interspecific cross; Nicotiana section Suaveolentes; Q chromosome; reproductive isolation; tobacco

Journal Article.  7192 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Ecology and Conservation ; Evolutionary Biology ; Plant Sciences and Forestry

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