Phenotypic Variations and Heritability in Hybrid Populations of Bearded Iris

in HortScience

Bearded iris (Iris ×hybrida Hort.) is a large horticultural hybrid complex in the Iris genus, and the lack of understanding about its inheritance laws has seriously hindered the breeding process. From parental bearded iris ‘Indian Chief’ and ‘Sugar Blues’, four hybrid populations—including F1, F2, BC1P1, and BC1P2—were generated through hybridization. Fifteen key phenotypic traits, including plant height (PH), scape height (SH), length of fall (LF), width of fall (WF), length of standard (LS), width of standard (WS), and so on, were measured, and several genetic parameters (e.g., trait variation, heritability, trait correlation, distribution of flower color) were analyzed. The variation of phenotypic traits indicated that the F1 generation could produce larger flowers and a greater number of blooming stems than other generations, whereas backcrossing was beneficial at producing more flowers on one scape in the offspring of ‘Indian Chief’ and ‘Sugar Blues’. WF had the greatest broad-sense heritability (73.91%) among the 15 phenotypic traits, whereas the broad-sense heritability of SH was the lowest (2.06%). The correlation between a vegetative trait (PH) and a reproductive trait (WS) provided a path to early selection of germplasm. Furthermore, four important floral traits (LF, WF, LS, and WS) also correlated significantly to each other, thus simplifying the selection of larger flowers. Genes regulating fuchsia flower color were dominant over those for bluish purple flowers. Genetic effects of flower color in recurrent parents could be reinforced by backcrossing, thereby providing a potential way to modify flower color through hybridization.

Contributor Notes

This research was supported by Graduate Training and Development Program of Beijing Municipal Commission of Education (BLCXY201801), as well as the National Natural Science Fund of China (no. 31770736).

We thank Yanchao Guo and Zhanhui Yang for helping us to establish the hybrid population. We thank Guobin Kou and Ximei Liu for the daily management of our plant materials. We also acknowledge Lu Meng, Yuxuan Cui, Yuhan Zhang, Saba Haider, and Martin Siaw for the language polishing of this paper.

Corresponding author. E-mail: gaoyk@bjfu.edu.cn.

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    The performances of two parents used in hybridization. Bar = 5 cm. P1 and P2, ‘Indian Chief’. P3 and P4, ‘Sugar Blues’.

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    The performance of three floral colors. A1 and A2, bluish purple. B1 and B2, purple. C1 and C2, fuchsia.

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    The distribution of floral colors in the F1, F2, BC1P1, and BC1P2 generations.

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