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Polyploidy and interploid hybridization

Polyploid induction is a method used by breeders to develop parents that can be used to create plants that are sterile, reblooming, or have improved aesthetics through interploidy hybridization.

Polyploidy and interploid hybridization
Interploid hybridization is a breeder’s tool that can be used to develop sterile hybrids. The sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua) seedlings pictured here are potential tetraploids (four sets of chromosomes) developed in the New Plant Development Program

Morton staff


Ploidy refers to the number of sets of chromosomes that an organism has in each cell.  For example, humans are diploids, meaning that we have two sets of chromosomes--one from mom and one from dad.  Plants, on the other hand, can have varying numbers of chromosomes without any detrimental effects.  Breeders take advantage of this trait in developing new plants. 

Polyploids can either be identified through genome size and ploidy surveys using a flow cytometer, or they can be developed through chemical mutagenesis using colchicine or oryzalin (active ingredient in the pre-emergent herbicide Surflan(R).

Funding sources

The Morton Arboretum, Haerther Charitable Trust

Project status