Embryo Abortion in Three Meadowfoam Genotypes
- R. E. Franz ,
- G. D. Jolliff and
- M. Seddigh
Embryo abortion is believed to limit meadowfoam (Limnanthes alba Hartw.ex Benth. subsp.alba cv. Mermaid) seed yield and yield stability. The objective was to compare abortion rates in three genotypes—Mermaid, and to half-sib lines: high-yielding ORL85-765 (765), and low-yielding ORL85-729 (729). Embryos per flower (EPF) and aborted embryos per flower (AEPF) were measured on individual flowers that were tagged at two times near peak bloom. Seeds per flower was then calculated and weight per seed (1000-seed basis) was measured from the harvested bulk seed. Averaged across years, Mermaid and 765 produced 9 and 7% (P = 0.05) more EPF, respectively, than 729 but all three genotypes had equal AEPF. The genotype ✕ year interaction for AEPF indicated Mermaid was more variable between years. Tagging time ✕ genotype interaction further revealed that Mermaid is more vulnerable to environmental changes for EPF and AEPF. Mermaid seeds per flower varied 20% between years, compared with 7% for 765 and 0% for 729. Differences in EPF, AEPF, and seeds per flower among genotypes were reflected in heir respective seed yield in each year. Variations in weight per seed of the genotypes explained some of the seed yield differences. Mermaid was apparently more sensitive than 765 to environmental factors that cause embryo abortion, while it produced as many or more EPF as did 765. This may explain part of the large year-to-year variation in Mermaid seed yield. Thus, reduced sensitivities of embryos to environmental variation may be an avenue for developing consistently higher meadowfoam oil yield.
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