Biparental inheritance of chloroplast DNA and the existence of heteroplasmic cells in alfalfa

D. J. Lee, T. K. Blake, S. E. Smith

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58 Scopus citations


Mapping of chloroplast DNA (ctDNA) restriction fragment patterns from a chlorophyll deficient mutant and two phenotypically normal alfalfa genotypes (Medicago sativa L.) has demonstrated the existence of a distinct ctDNA genotype from each source. These unique restriction fragment patterns were utilized to identify maternal or paternal origin of ctDNA in hybrid plants from crosses involving the normal alfalfa genotypes as females and the yellow-green chlorophyll deficient sectors as males. Progeny from these crosses expressing the yellow-green sectored phenotypes contained paternal ctDNA in the chlorophyll deficient sectors and maternal ctDNA in the normal sectors, confirming biparental plastid inheritance. The existence of mixed cells containing both mutant and normal plastids at various stages of sorting-out was observed by transmission electron microscopy of mesophyll cells in mosaic tissue from hybrid plants. This observation verified the biparental transmission of plastids in alfalfa.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)545-549
Number of pages5
JournalTheoretical and Applied Genetics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1988


  • Alfalfa
  • Biparental plastid inheritance
  • Chlorophyll deficient mutants
  • ctDNA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Genetics


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