Letter | Published:

A Saccharum-Zea Cross

Nature volume 142, pages 618619 (01 October 1938) | Download Citation



BOTH Saccharum and Zea are distinguished by the readiness with which they cross with related genera. For example, while Mangelsdorf and Reeves1 have crossed Zea Mays with Euchlcena and Tripsacum, Venkatraman and Thomas2 Have crossed S. officinarum with a species of Sorghum and even the remotely related Bambusa3. I have also crossed S. officinarum with Imperata Cylindrica Beaew. and S. spontaneum L. with Sorghum Durra and Sorghum halepense. In spite of Zea and Saccharum being in two different sections of the Gramineæ—Andropogoneae and Maydeae (Bews)—I thought it worth while to cross them, and after several attempts using many thousands of flowers of a male sterile variety (Vellai) of S. officinarum 2n = 80 = 8x as the female parent, and variety Golden Beauty of Zea Mays 2n = 20, 2B as the male parent, I obtained a single seedling. This plant has received the expected 40 chromosomes from the Saccharum parent and 12 chromosomes from the male parent Zea. Amongst these the VI nucleolar chromosome of Zea Mays is recognizable.

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  1. 1.

    , and , "Hybridization of Maize, Tripsacum and Euchl na", J. Tiered., 22, 327–343 (1932).

  2. 2.

    , and , "Sugarcane—Sorghum Hybrids", Agri. J. India, 25, 164 (1930).

  3. 3.

    , "Sugarcane—Bamboo Hybrids", Ind. J., Agri. Sci., 7, Pt. III, 513 (1937).

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  1. Sugarcane Breeding Station, Coimbatore, South India.



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