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Somatic hybridization between diploid Poncirus and Citrus improves natural chilling and light stress tolerances compared with equivalent doubled-diploid genotypes

Oustric J., Morillon R., Ollitrault P., Herbette S., Luro F., Froelicher Y., Tur I., Dambier D., Giannettini J., Berti L., Santini J.. 2018. Trees, 32 (3) : p. 883-895.

DOI: 10.1007/s00468-018-1682-3

Allopolyploids are generally known to display broader adaptation to abiotic stresses than their parental diploid species. In the Mediterranean area, Citrus species are subjected to abiotic constraints such as low temperature and high radiation. Tetraploids are known to resist these environmental constraints better, and so the use of new tetraploid rootstocks offers an alternative to overcome these threats to crop productivity. The objective of this study was to determine whether the use of an allotetraploid hybrid could provide greater tolerance to cold and light stresses than its diploid parents or respective doubled-diploid parents. We compared cold and light stress responses of the allotetraploid hybrid FlhorAG1 (FL-4x) with those of its diploid parents, the willow leaf mandarin (Citrus deliciosa Ten) (WLM-2x) and the Poncirus Pomeroy (Poncirus trifoliata (L.) Raf.) (POP-2x), and their respective doubled-diploids (WLM-4x and POP-4x, respectively) by measuring physiological and biochemical parameters. When subjected to cold and light stress, FL-4x showed lower photoinhibition (Fv/Fm) and less accumulation of oxidative markers (MDA and H2O2) than diploid and doubled-diploid WLM and POP genotypes. This was correlated with a greater increase for FL-4x in some antioxidant activities during cold stress (SOD, APX and GR) and light stress (SOD, APX and MDHAR mainly). Overall, our results suggest that greater antioxidant capability in FL-4x should make this allotetraploid hybrid more tolerant to low temperatures than the two WLM genotypes, and more tolerant to light stress than the two WLM and POP genotypes.

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