Artificial Hybridization In Plants

“Artificial hybridization is the process in which only desired pollen grains are used for pollination and fertilization.”

Pollination is the process of reproduction in plants in which plants transfer pollen grains from anther to stigma. Pollination can be of two types:

  • Cross-pollination
  • Self-pollination

For successful pollination to occur, pollen and stigma should be compatible. Incompatibility may lead to rejection of pollen grains. This situation is undesirable, especially in commercial crop production. Therefore, artificial hybridization was developed.

Also Read: Types of Pollination

Artificial Hybridization

Pollen-stigma compatibility is essential for successful pollination and fertilization. Once compatible pollen is accepted by pistil, events of fertilization proceed, whereas incompatible pollen will be rejected. This interaction where a pistil is capable of recognizing its pollen is the result of long-term pollen-pistil interaction and chemicals released by pollen.

It is very important to understand pollen-pistil interaction in hybridization. It is one of the innovative methods of the crop production improvement program. During artificial hybridization, only the desired pollen grains are introduced to the stigma through pollination. This helps to avoid unwanted pollen rejection and saves time. Also, the plants with desired characteristics can be grown.

Steps in Artificial Hybridization

Hybridization proceeds in two steps:

  • Emasculation
  • Bagging

Emasculation

We know hybridization is the method of selective breeding. Thus, anthers have to be removed from a bisexual flower before they release pollen grains. This step of removal of anther using forceps is termed as emasculation. In the case of unisexual flowers, this step is not necessary.

Bagging

Bagging is the protection of emasculated flower from contamination by undesirable pollen grains. Here the flower is masked by a bag, still, the flower attains receptivity. In unisexual flowers, bagging is done before the flowers are open.

Emasculation and bagging ensures that female flower is completely protected from contamination.

Once the flower attains stigma receptivity, the desired pollens are dusted on the stigma. This is resealed for further developments.

Hence, artificial hybridization ensures that right type of pollen has been transferred to the stigma of the flower. In addition, the chance of fertilization is high. Through this approach, a variety of strains of crops can be developed and it improves the quality of crop with desirable characters.

Also Read: Parts of a Flower

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