The edible Alliums are economically important world-wide. The bulb onion (Allium cepa) is the most widely grown. The Japanese bunching onion (A. fistulosum) has many desirable characters, e.g., resistance to pink root, Thrips, smut, maggot, and Botrytis. Transfer of pink root resistance from A. fistulosum into A. cepa has been attempted for over 60 years. However, sterility of the F1 hybrid is a barrier and there is little evidence of gene introgression during backcrossing to A. cepa. Dr. Corgan has made crosses between A. fistulosum as the seed parent and A. cepa. He backcrossed the F1 hybrids to A. cepa and generated BC2 progenies which showed excellent pink root resistance. RFLPs in the chloroplast genome showed all BC2 progenies had either the normal or sterile cytoplasm of A. cepa. This may be due to not strictly maternal inheritance of the chloroplast DNA or a seed mixture during backcrossing. Other interspecific hybrids and their BC1 progenies had the cytoplasm of A. fistulosum. Nuclear RFLPs show hybrid patterns in the F1 plants. BC1 progenies possess some A. fistulosum markers as evidence of DNA introgression from A. fistulosum into the backcross progenies.
If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.