Female reproductive organs of Brassica napus are more sensitive than male to transient heat stress

Dr Sheng Chen1,2, Dr Renu Saradadevi1,2, Dr Miriam Vidotti3, Dr Roberto Fritsche-Neto3, Dr Jose Crossa4, Professor Kadambot H. M. Siddique1,2, Professor Wallace A. Cowling1,2 

1The UWA Institute of Agriculture, The University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia,
2UWA School of Agriculture and Environment, The University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia,
3Department of Genetics, Luiz de Queiroz Agriculture College, University of São Paulo, Piracicaba, Brazil,
4International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), Mexico City, Mexico

Oilseed rape (Brassica napus L.) is sensitive to heat stress during the reproductive stage, but it is not clear whether the male and female reproductive organs differ in their sensitivity to heat stress. In this study, full diallel crossing experiments were conducted among four genotypes of B. napus under control, moderate and high heat stress conditions for five days immediately before and two days after crossing. General combining ability (GCA), specific combining ability (SCA) and reciprocal effects were analyzed to evaluate the genetic basis of heat stress tolerance in male and female reproductive organs. High female temperature (Tf) and high male temperature (Tm) reduced the number of fertile pods and seeds set per floret, and the significant Tf × Tm interaction indicated that female reproductive organs were more sensitive to heat stress than male reproductive organs. There were no overall GCA, SCA or reciprocal effects across all combinations of Tf and Tm. However, a significant reciprocal × Tf effect was found, suggesting that genotypes differed in their ability to set fertile pods and seeds as Tf increased. The relative heat tolerance of G1 as a female increased as Tf increased, and the relative heat tolerance of G2 as a male decreased as Tf increased. In summary, reciprocal diallel crossing has demonstrated that female reproductive organs of B. napus are more sensitive than male to transient heat stress at the early flowering stage, and genotypes differ in relative heat tolerance in the male and female reproductive organs as Tf increases.


Sheng obtained his PhD in 2000 from Huazhong Agricultural University, China, and had postdoc research experiences at the University of Montpellier, France, followed by CSIRO Plant Industry in Perth, Australia.  Sheng joined Prof Wallace Cowling’s canola group at The University of Western Australia in 2005 and since then he has been working on canola germplasm evaluation and utilization, with particular interest in the physiology and genetics of canola tolerance to drought and heat stress.  He is currently leading a national research project on heat tolerant canola funded by GRDC.



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