Amaranthus hybridus can be pollinated frequently by A. tuberculatus under field conditions

F. Trucco, M. R. Jeschke, A. L. Rayburn, P. J. Tranel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recent studies have confirmed that weedy Amaranthus species are capable of interspecific hybridization, and such hybridization may foster the evolution of herbicide resistance. However, the extent to which hybridization among these species occurs in nature is unknown. The purpose of this study was to determine the frequency under field conditions at which A. hybridus, a monoecious and predominantly self-pollinated species, would be pollinated by A. tuberculatus, a dioecious species. To do this, parents carrying different alleles at the ALS locus, which encodes a herbicide target site, were used. Male A. tuberculatus parents were homozygous for a dominant herbicide-insensitive allele, while A. hybridus parents were homozygous for a sensitive form. Hybrid progeny therefore could be detected via herbicide selection. Mean hybridization frequencies between 0.4 and 2.3% were obtained, depending on the proximity between parents (P = 0.02). The robustness of the hybrid selection assay was verified using a molecular marker and DNA content analyses. Using these techniques, more than 99% of the progeny that survived the herbicide were confirmed to be hybrids. Frequencies obtained in this study were many times higher than the generally expected rate of mutation. Therefore, even minimal fertility in hybrid progeny would support the view that hybridization could play a role in adaptive evolution of weedy Amaranthus species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)64-70
Number of pages7
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2005


  • Amaranthus hybridus
  • Amaranthus rudis
  • Amaranthus tuberculatus
  • Gene flow
  • Herbicide resistance
  • Hybridization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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