The common wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) is a poly(hexa)ploid, derived from an amphi-diploidization process involving the donor species—Triticum urartu, Aegilops speltoides, Triticum turgidum, and Aegilops tauschii. The genetic diversity of the autogamous wheat is narrow, which is a major reason for lesser rate of yield gain in wheat, in contrast to rice and maize. It is desirable to encourage hybrid breeding, i.e., combining different lines into genetically divergent heterotic pools. Thus, hybrid plants are a unique combination of desired alleles produced by crossing between genetically different parental lines. Hybrid seed production in a crop requires male-sterile female parents along with a reliable outcrossing system. The male-sterile female parent prevents pollen shedding and self-fertilization, maintaining the purity of hybrid seeds. An outcrossing system enhances hybrid seed production. This article emphasizes the biological relevance of crossbreeding and self-pollination in wheat, and reviews different male sterility systems which could be utilized for the development of hybrid wheat. Several biotechnological approaches and their practical utility in generating cross-compatible male-sterile female parent lines have been discussed.
- Male sterility