Somatic hybridization between birdsfoot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus L.) and L. conimbricensis Willd

R. L. Wright, D. A. Somers, R. L. McGraw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Somatic hybrid plants were produced by fusion of birdsfoot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus) cv 'Leo' and L. conimbricensis Willd. protoplasts. Birdsfoot trefoil etiolated hypocotyl protoplasts were inactivated with iodoacetate to inhibit cell division prior to fusion with L. conimbricensis suspension culture protoplasts. L. conimbricensis protoplasts divided to form callus which did not regenerate plants. Thus, plant regeneration from protoplast-derived callus was used to tentatively identify somatic hybrid cell lines. Plants regenerated from three cell lines exhibited additive combinations of parental isozymes of phosphoglucomutase, and L. conimbricensis-specific esterases indicating that they were somatic hybrids. The somatic chromosome number of one somatic hybrid was 36. The other somatic hybrid exhibited variable chromosome numbers ranging from 33 to 40. These observations approximate the expected combination of the birdsfoot trefoil (2n=4x=24) and L. conimbricensis (2n=2x=12) genomes. Somatic hybrid flowers were less yellow than birdsfoot trefoil flowers and had purple keel tips, a trait inherited from the white flowered L. conimbricensis. Somatic hybrids also had inflorescence structure that was intermediate to the parents. Fifteen somatic hybrid plants regenerated from the three callus lines were male sterile. Successul fertilization in backcrosses with birdsfoot trefoil pollen has not yet been obtained suggesting that the hybrids are also female sterile. This is the first example of somatic hybridization between these two sexually incompatible Lotus species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)151-156
Number of pages6
JournalTheoretical and Applied Genetics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 1987


  • Lotus conimbricensis
  • Lotus corniculatus
  • Protoplast
  • Somatic hybridization


Dive into the research topics of 'Somatic hybridization between birdsfoot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus L.) and L. conimbricensis Willd'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this