Eric B. Kouam, Remy S. Pasquet, Mathieu Ndomou
Department of Agriculture, University of Dschang, Cameroon
IRD-ICIPE, Nairobi, Kenya
Department of Biochemistry, University of Douala, Cameroon
Key words: Cowpea, Pollen fertility, F1 hybrid, Reproductive barrier.
Hybridization is progressively more recognized as an important process in the evolution of plant populations and species. In order to produce F1 hybrid plants, three subspecies of wild cowpea namely ssp. spontanea, ssp. stenophylla and ssp. tenius were crossed with the cultivated cowpea subspecies namely ssp. unguiculata (524B). The resulting F1 hybrids were evaluated for pollen fertility, determined from more than 2000 pollen grains. Pollen fecundity in hybrid groups (74.45 ± 1.54) was significantly lower ( , ; ) compared to those of parent groups (95.27 ± 0.29). Between parents groups, one-way analysis of variance test at showed no significant difference in Pollen fertility ( ; ) while significant difference in pollen fecundity was found between hybrid groups ( ; ). spontanea (♀) × (♂) 524B F1 hybrid produced significantly more fertile pollens compared to tenius (♀) × (♂) 524B and stenophylla (♀) × (♂) 524B F1 hybrids. This indicates that with the cultivated cowpea (524B), reproductive barrier are significantly more pronounced with wild forms ssp. stenophyllla and ssp. tenius compared to ssp. spontanea. ssp. spontanea is therefore the wild cowpea subspecies more closed to the cultivated cowpea (ssp. unguiculata ) compared to ssp. tenius and ssp. stenohylla. Implications of these results in the light of the development of a CMS (Cytoplasmic Male Sterile) plant in hybrid cowpea seed technology are discussed.