Metabolite changes in F1 hybrids that increase biomass

June 20, 2023

Heterosis or hybrid vigor is a biological phenomenon in which F1 hybrids between different species or accessions show more robust growth than their parents. Many agricultural products in the market are grown by cultivating F1 hybrids using heterosis. This phenomenon, however, has been known for over 100 years, while its underlying mechanism remains unknown.

A collaborative research group of researchers from Tsukuba University, the RIKEN CSRS, Yokohama City University, and the University of Tokyo sorted the 202 accessions obtained from the model plant, Arabidopsis thaliana, by expression levels of heterosis phenotypes based on the phenotypic analysis associated with the flowering time, seed size, germination time, and fresh weight 15 days after germination. Studies of comparison between hybrids with high heterosis and those with low one demonstrated that the former showed specific changes in the productivity of the intermediates in TCA cycle, a carbon-metabolic pathway in mitochondria. Further understanding the molecular mechanism of heterosis could contribute to establishing efficient breeding of F1 hybrids and developing crops with increased biomass.

Original article
Scientific reports doi: 10.1038/s41598-023-36618-y
Q. T. N. Le, N. Sugi, M. Yamaguchi, T. Hirayama, M. Kobayashi, Y. Suzuki, M. Kusano, H. Shiba,
"Morphological and metabolomics profiling of intraspecific Arabidopsis hybrids in relation to biomass heterosis".
Miyako Kusano
Senior Visiting Scientist
Metabolomics Research Group