The genetics of arsenate tolerance in Holcus lanatus is investigated. Three tolerant plants from an abandoned arsenic mine, and three non-tolerant plants and one less tolerant plant (C9) from an uncontaminated site were crossed. Five polycrosses between plants from F1 crosses between mine and non-tolerants were set up. Four polycrosses between tolerant F2 progeny, and four polycrosses between non-tolerant F2 progeny, were established. A polycross involving the progeny of a single tolerant plant allowed to cross at random with a normal population was also established. The results are broadly compatible with a single-gene model for tolerance, with tolerance being dominant. The majority of F2 crosses segregated in to 3:1 ratios, and backcrosses gave 1:1 ratios. The crosses between C9 and non-tolerants gave 1:1 ratios, which suggests that the less tolerant C9 was heterozygous for tolerance. All crosses between non-tolerants gave all non-tolerant offspring. In one cross a major gene for albinism also segregated, and linkage of the tolerance gene to this gene (r.f. = 35%) was demonstrated. A number of families produced progeny ratios incompatible with the simple major gene model. Possible causes of these anomalous crosses are discussed and it is suggested that the tolerance gene may show variable penetrance depending on the genetic background.
- Arsenate tolerance
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