Sunday, September 16, 2012

F2 Jatropha interspecific hybrids available

In the second half of August we successfully germinated the first three F2 seedlings from one of our interspecific hybrids. From now we have F2 Jatropha interspecific hybrids available for further breeding. While some research reports seem to indicate that this type of interspecific hybrid is sterile or not interesting for breeding, we observe an ongoing successful seed development on several of our early F1 plants deriving from different Jatropha curcas female parents.

Large diversity in F2 interspecific hybrids not unexpected
F2 seedlings of interspecific JcL hybrids 1 month old showing wide variation

As expected from applying general Mendel rules the F2 generation is much more genetically diverse than the F1 generation. Out of 3 seedlings so far, only the one on the left seems to be a strong and healthy plant while the other 2 are only moving along very slowly.

Fruit on an interspecific F1 hybrid
We expect our F2 interspecific population to grow very fast over the coming months involving many different F1 interspecific parents with genetically very different Jatropha curcas parents in turn. Currently many F1s are initiating their first flowering. On the interspecific route of our breeding program this is really what we have worked on for almost 3 years, as now we start moving into terrain which has not previously discussed in the scientific literature to the best of our knowledge.

This development marks another success in our initial target to bring as much variability into the germplasm available to us for future selective breeding. We are now able to work on a real ground breaking next step we had been planning for since we did the first interspecific cross almost 2 years ago. With a little luck results will become visible before the end of the year.

Further observations on the interspecific breeding route will be published here as much as possible, but of course we will have to start protecting our intellectual property where we reach the forefront of commercial hybrid development as we are expecting a meaningful patent application before too long.

F2 Jatropha interspecific hybrids available