Polyploids refer to organisms with more than two complete sets of chromosomes. Polyploid plants often exhibit increased vigor than their diploid parents in several aspects. Although polyploidy often results in seedless offspring due to meiotic errors, the fertility can be restored by doubling genome to create allopolyploidy. Polyploids are also important as bridges for genetic transfer between species of hybrid incompatibility, allowing the creation of plant varieties with enhanced pest resistance and stress tolerance. Thus, polyploidy gives plant breeders more options for developing plant variants with desired traits.
Polyploidy plants may occur due to abnormal cell division spontaneously in nature, either during mitosis or during metaphase I of meiosis. Polyploidy also can be induced by application of chemical agents. The most well-known agent is colchicine, which can result in chromosome doubling by inhibiting microtubule polymerization, preventing chromosome/chromatid migration during anaphase. Other antimitotic chemical agents, such as trifluralin, oryzalin, amiprophos-methyl, butamiphos, and N2O gas can also be used. In addition, polyploid plants can also be produced via protoplast fusion, a biological culturing technology that allows adhering and fusion of two or more protoplasts, under the induction of polyethylene glycol (PEG), or electronic shock.
Figure 1. A schematic representation of four cultivated species and the corresponding polyploidy consequences (Sattler et al., 2016).
As a leader specialized in plant biotechnologies, Lifeasible has developed a state-of-the-art platform for polyploidy induction in a wide range of crop species. We also provide service for chromosome number validation via both indirect (e.g., examination of physiological and/or morphological traits) and direct (e.g., flow cytometry or fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH)) approaches.