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Crop Science Abstract -

Factors Affecting Pollen Movement and Natural Crossing in Pearl Millet1


This article in CS

  1. Vol. 14 No. 6, p. 802-805
    Received: Jan 25, 1974

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  1. Glenn W. Burton2



Pollen from taller purple (PP) or red (RR) plants of pearl millet [Pennisetum americanum (L.) K. Schum., formerly P. typhoides (Burm.) Stapf and Hubb.] produced hybrids (Pp) (Rr) on green (pp) (rr) plants at distances up to 55 m but was responsible for only 3.7% of hybrids on green heads flowering at the same time within a radius of 1 m. In a field planting of ‘Tift 23’ germplasm pool D, purple and red plants of Tift 23 were responsible for only 0.88, 0.76, and 0.34% of hybrids at distances of 0.6, 1.2, and 1.8 m, respectively. This uniform flowering germplasm pool carrying 24 chlorophyll deficient (cd) mutants (each at a frequency of .005) showed 31.2% of inbreeding in 1972 and 18.1% in 1973. Natural crossing in these 2 years was 69 and 82%, respectively. Thus the 1,500 seeds on one head may contain germplasm from many males but a disproportionate amount of germplasm from the female parent. This fact, plus variations in height, anthesis date, and wind direction, makes it advisable to maintain natural (variable maturity) germplasm pools by sampling many plants as if each were a pure breeding entity and considering extra germplasm contributed by pollen movement as an uncertain bonus.

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