FIGL1 prevents aberrant chromosome associations and fragmentation and limits crossovers in polyploid wheat meiosis

Kim Osman*, Stuart Desjardins, James Simmonds, Amanda J Burridge, Kostya Kanyuka, Ian Henderson, Keith J Edwards, Cristobal Uauy, Chris Franklin, James Higgins

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


Meiotic crossovers (COs) generate genetic diversity and are crucial for viable gamete production. Plant COs are typically limited to 1–3 per chromosome pair, constraining the development of improved varieties, which in wheat is exacerbated by an extreme distal localisation bias. Advances in wheat genomics and related technologies provide new opportunities to investigate, and possibly modify, recombination in this important crop species. Here, we investigate the disruption of FIGL1 in tetraploid and hexaploid wheat as a potential strategy for modifying CO frequency/position.
We analysed figl1 mutants and virus-induced gene silencing lines cytogenetically. Genetic mapping was performed in the hexaploid.
FIGL1 prevents abnormal meiotic chromosome associations/fragmentation in both ploidies. It suppresses class II COs in the tetraploid such that CO/chiasma frequency increased 2.1-fold in a figl1 msh5 quadruple mutant compared with a msh5 double mutant. It does not appear to affect class I COs based on HEI10 foci counts in a hexaploid figl1 triple mutant. Genetic mapping in the triple mutant suggested no significant overall increase in total recombination across examined intervals but revealed large increases in specific individual intervals.
Notably, the tetraploid figl1 double mutant was sterile but the hexaploid triple mutant was moderately fertile, indicating potential utility for wheat breeding.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNew Phytologist
Publication statusPublished - 7 Apr 2024

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