Somatic hybridization via PEG (Polyethylene 6000)-mediated protoplast fusion was achieved between two different wheat culture lines (Triticum aestivum L., "Jinan"177, T1 and T2) and Setaria italica (L.) P. Beauv. The T1 recipient originated from non-regenerable long-term cell suspensions, while T2 was derived from embryogenic calli with a high regeneration capacity. Donor protoplasts were obtained from embryogenic calli of S. italica (S) (with low regeneration capacity) irradiated with different doses of ultraviolet light. Twenty-three putative hybrid cell lines were produced in fusion combinations with the donor protoplasts treated with UV light for 30 s (combination I) and 1 min (combination II), but only one (from combination II) differentiated into green plants. Three cell lines from combination I and five cell lines from combination II possessed the nuclear genomes of T1, T2, and S. italica as revealed by cytological, isozyme, RAPD, and 5S rDNA spacer sequence analyses. Genomic in situ hybridization (GISH) analysis showed that most hybrid cell lines had 22-36 wheat chromosomes, 0-2 S. italica chromosomes, and 1-6 wheat - S. italica recombinant chromosomes, whereas the regenerable cell line had 44-56 wheat chromosomes and 3-6 recombinant chromosomes, but no intact S. italica chromosomes. RFLP analysis of organellar DNA revealed that mitochondrial and chloroplast DNA of both parents coexisted in all hybrid cell lines and recombined in most hybrid cell lines. These results indicate that the regeneration of hybrid plants involves not only the integration of S. italica nuclear and organellar DNA, but also the genome complementation of T1 and T2.