The effect of 2n gametes on sex ratios in Actinidia

Sex Plant Reprod. 2012 Sep;25(3):197-203. doi: 10.1007/s00497-012-0191-6. Epub 2012 Jun 28.


Sex can sometimes lead to complications. In some crops, 2n gametes have been exploited by plant breeders to transfer genetic variation between taxa of different ploidy levels. However, their role and use in dioecious genera have received relatively little attention. In the dioecious genus Actinidia (kiwifruit), seedling populations usually segregate equally for females and males as sex is determined by an XX female/XY male system. While fertilization involving 2n egg cells is not expected to affect the sex ratios of progenies, fertilization involving 2n pollen is likely to produce progenies with excess males. The extent of sex ratio distortion will depend on the relative contributions of first and second division restitution, and the frequency and location of cross-overs in meiosis. In this study, seedlings recovered from crosses between females of hexaploid Actinidia deliciosa and males of two diploid species, Actinidia chinensis and Actinidia eriantha, included a proportion of pentaploid hybrids presumably derived from fertilization involving 2n pollen. Most of these pentaploids were male, and a proportion of them were likely to be carrying two Y chromosomes. If used as parents in further crosses, males with multiple Y chromosomes are likely to cause distorted sex ratios in their immediate progenies. In dioecious genera such as Actinidia, the effects on sex ratios of different mechanisms of ploidy change need to be taken into account when considering the evolution of polyploidy and the design of breeding strategies involving ploidy manipulation.

MeSH terms

  • Actinidia / genetics*
  • Actinidia / physiology
  • Chromosomes, Plant / genetics
  • Diploidy
  • Germ Cells, Plant / physiology*
  • Hybridization, Genetic
  • Polyploidy
  • Seedlings / genetics
  • Sex Ratio*