Leaf protoplasts of Nicotiana tabacum SR1 (2 n=4 x=48) treated with iodoacetate (10 mM; 25 C; 30 min) and consequently unable to divide, and untreated leaf protoplasts of Nicotiana sylvestris (2 n=2 x=24) were fused using polyethylene glycol (PEG). The SR1 line is resistant to streptomycin because of a maternally inherited mutation, and has streptomycin-insensitive chloroplast ribosomes. After 1 month of growth in the absence of streptomycin protoplast-derived calli were plated into selective medium (1,000 μg ml-1 streptomycin) and the resistant clones were isolated. Out of 106 PEG-treated protoplasts (1:1 mixture of parental types) 137 resistant (green) clones were obtained, whereas in the same number of parental cells, not subjected to fusion induction, no resistant callus was found. At least four plants were regenerated from each of the clones. The regenerates were identified as somatic hybrids (H), N. sylvestris (Ns) or N. tabacum (Nt) by looking at esterase and peroxidase isoenzymes and morphology. The three types of regenerates were distributed amongst the clones as follows: H only (105 clones); Ns (16 clones); Ns+H (6 clones); Nt only (3 clones); Nt+H (6 clones); Nt+Ns (1 clone). The high proportion of hybrid regenerates indicates that nuclear fusion has occured in the overwhelming majority of the heterokaryocytes. Cytoplasmic mutations in combination with inactivation by iodoacetate, therefore, are suitable markers to produce somatic hybrids. Segregation of nuclei after fusion resulted in new combinations of organelles and nuclei, the final outcome being the transfer of resistant chloroplasts into N. sylvestris, some of which have the original diploid (2 n=24) chromosome number. Data suggest that segregants were in most cases obtained from multiple fusions. Streptomycin resistance was inherited maternally in the N. sylvestris (six clones) tested and the hybrid (three clones) regenerates.
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