Ulvophycean species with diverse trait characteristics provide an opportunity to create novel allelic recombinant variants. The present study reports the development of seaweed variants with improved agronomic traits through protoplast fusion between Monostroma oxyspermum (Kutz.) Doty and Ulva reticulata Forsskal. A total of 12 putative hybrids were screened based on the variations in morphology and total DNA content over the fusion partners. DNA-fingerprinting by inter simple sequence repeat (ISSR) and amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) analysis confirmed genomic introgression in the hybrids. The DNA fingerprint revealed sharing of parental alleles in regenerated hybrids and a few alleles that were unique to hybrids. The epigenetic variations in hybrids estimated in terms of DNA methylation polymorphism also revealed sharing of methylation loci with both the fusion partners. The functional trait analysis for growth showed a hybrid with heterotic trait (DGR% = 36.7 ± 1.55%) over the fusion partners U. reticulata (33.2 ± 2.6%) and M. oxyspermum (17.8 ± 1.77%), while others were superior to the mid-parental value (25.2 ± 2.2%) (p < 0.05). The fatty acid (FA) analysis of hybrids showed notable variations over fusion partners. Most hybrids showed increased polyunsaturated FAs (PUFAs) compared to saturated FAs (SFAs) and mainly includes the nutritionally important linoleic acid, a-linolenic acid, oleic acid, stearidonic acid, and docosahexaenoic acid. The other differences observed include superior cellulose content and antioxidative potential in hybrids over fusion partners. The hybrid varieties with superior traits developed in this study unequivocally demonstrate the significance of protoplast fusion technique in developing improved varients of macroalgae.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2015 Gupta, Kumari and Reddy.
Acknowledgments: The financial support received from DBT Indo-UK collaborative project (SuBBSea) under grant agreement no. BT/IN/Indo-UK/SuBB/22/AML/2013 is gratefully acknowledged. Dr. Juliet C. Coates, Birmingham University, UK is acknowledged for English corrections. We are thankful to the anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments.
Data Availability StatementSupplementary Material for this article can be found online at: http://www.frontiersin.org/journal/10.3389/fpls.2015.00003/abstract