Interspecific hybridization and plant breeding: From historical retrospective through work of Mendel to current crops

Kopecký D., Martín A., Smýkal P. (2022): Interspecific hybridization and plant breeding: From historical retrospective through work of Mendel to current crops. Czech J. Genet. Plant Breed., 58: 113–126.

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There is a relatively long history of plant hybridization traced back to ancient time, both from theoretical as well as practical perspectives. At first considered as an evolutionary dead-end, it was soon recognized to have important role in plant speciation. Beside his work on pea, G.J. Mendel also conducted interspecific hybridization using several species including Hieracium. Current knowledge shows that the frequent occurrence of wide hybridization in nature is often connected with polyploidy. Interspecific hybridization has played a role in plant domestication and numerous crops are allopolyploids, sometimes of complex hybrid origin. This has been also used in practical breeding, extending even to intergeneric crosses which benefit from heterosis, transgressive segregation and introgression phenomenon. This review aims to provide a  a  historical retrospective and summarize both current knowledge and the usage of interspecific hybridization in crop breeding.

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