Author Topic: Dioscorea breeding- any success stories?  (Read 192 times)

S.Simonsen

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Dioscorea breeding- any success stories?
« on: 2020-06-03, 03:30:53 PM »
I am collecting various Dioscorea species diversity (D. alata mostly, plus D.  cayenensis,  esculenta, bulbifera, and our local D. transversa and hastata from Australia) with a view to breeding from seed and maybe attempting hybridisation. I have D. alata from a few seed sources but the appear to be a different SE asian species (D. hamiltonii).

From what I have read the genus is highly heterogeneous in terms of ploidy, with even common D. alata coming in many different chromosome numbers (suggesting it may be fairly flexible in crossing between levels?). My original large white D. alata clone is a female that flowers strongly provided the plants can climb high enough (4-5 m up). Unfortunately I don't have any mature male clones yet.

Does anyone have experience in successfully producing Dioscorea seed? I would love to hear how you managed to do it.

Also they are wind pollinated, so presumably the pollen stores fairly easily. Would anyone be interested in starting a pollen exchange so we can try to get around the difficulties in getting different clones flowering simultaneously?

Chance

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Re: Dioscorea breeding- any success stories?
« Reply #1 on: 2020-06-17, 10:54:03 AM »
Iím working on a similar project right now, focused mostly on hardy yams.  But some others like hamiltonii and alata from seed, and bulbifera.  I keep setting my vines back from flowering with moving but that will change soon.  Dioscorea is tricky to breed for several reasons.  Itís been used to somatic evolution for a while, like you say with a lot of chromosome number variations, and these happen even within individualsómaking them I guess aneuploids?  Pollen stores fairly easily.  Dioscorea polystachya, unlike many other wind pollinated, species Is pollinated by thrips in its natural environment.


S.Simonsen

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Re: Dioscorea breeding- any success stories?
« Reply #2 on: 2020-06-17, 03:07:18 PM »
Chance- that is great to hear. I figured the pollen would be easy to store. Once I get some males mature I will have to contribute to getting a pollen bank set up with people also working on the genus.
Their genetic strategy reminds me a bit of rotifers, mostly cloning with occasional DNA rearrangements, and even rarer sex (though some Yam species seem to produce seed more reliably).

Also-have you seen any publications on how to do hand pollination in yams if you do find yourself with a pollen sample and female in flower?