Paspalum notatum Flüggé (bahiagrass) is the most important forage grass in the native grasslands of southern Brazil; the native germplasm is tetraploid and apomictic. Breeding to produce cultivars has been possible due to chromosome doubling of sexual diploid accessions, allowing hybridizations with apomictic genotypes, generating progenies with variability for agronomic traits and segregating for reproduction mode. The aim of this study was to determine the reproduction mode of selected hybrids derived from intraspecific crosses through cytoembryological analysis and to evaluate the level of apospory expres¬sivity. Eighty one tetraploid hybrids corresponding to 21 families of sexual and apomictic parents were generated and 28 most productive plants based on their superior agronomic performance in the field were evaluated. Sixteen hybrids were reproduced sexually and 12 of them were highly apomictic or facultative apomictic. Sexual hybrids may be used for further crosses in the breeding program while highly apomictic plants produce uniform progeny and become candidates of new cultivars to promote pasture diversification.
Key words: Aposporous apomixis, bahiagrass, intraspecific crosses, plant breeding.
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