Interspecific hybrids between Diospyros glandulosa (2n = 2x = 30) and D. kaki cv. Jiro (2n = 6x = 90) were produced by electrofusion of protoplasts. Protoplasts were isolated from calli derived from leaf primordia, fused electrically, and cultured by agarose-bead culture using modified KM8p medium. Relative nuclear DNA contents of calli derived from fusion-treated protoplasts were determined by flow cytometry. One-hundred-forty-nine of 166 calli obtained had the nuclear DNA content of the sum of those of D. glandulosa and D. kaki cv. Jiro. RAPD analysis showed that the 149 callus lines yielded specific bands for both D. glandulosa and D. kaki cv. Jiro and they appeared to be interspecific somatic hybrid calli. Shoots were regenerated from 63 of the 149 interspecific hybrid calli. PCR-RFLP of chloroplast DNA analysis, flow cytometric determination of nuclear DNA content, and RAPD analysis revealed that the 63 interspecific hybrid shoot lines contained nuclear genome from both the parents but only chloroplast genome from D. glandulosa. Microscopic observation of root tip cells confirmed that somatic chromosome numbers of the interspecific hybrids were 2n = 8x = 120.
To produce nonaploid Japanese persimmon (Diospyros kaki L.f.) by artificial hybridization, we surveyed the natural occurrence of unreduced (2n) pollen among hexaploid cultivars and sorted them from normal reduced (n) pollen. The sorted 2n pollen was crossed with a hexaploid female cultivar and the resultant embryos were rescued by in vitro culture techniques to obtain plantlets. Three out of six male-flower-bearing cultivars (2n = 6x = 90) produced 2n pollen at rates of 4.8% to 15.5% varying with the cultivar, which was estimated by both pollen size and flow cytometry. After sorting giant (2n) from normal pollen grains by using nylon mesh, they were crossed with a hexaploid female cultivar. The seeds obtained from pollination with normal pollen were perfect, but those obtained from pollination with giant pollen were mostly imperfect, with embryo growth being suspended at the globular stage. Although the rate of survival was very low, some embryos at the globular stage were rescued successfully and grown in vitro. Both flow cytometric analysis and chromosome counting proved that the plantlets obtained were nonaploid.