J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 2006, Vol. 48 ›› Issue (7): -.DOI: 10.1111/j.1744-7909.2006.00260.x

• Research Articles •    

Potential Risk of Hybridization in Ex Situ Collections of Two Endangered Species of Sinojackia Hu (Styracaceae)

Qi-Gang Ye, Xiao-Hong Yao, Sheng-Ju Zhang, Ming Kang and Hong-Wen Huang   

Abstract: Spontaneous hybridization in ex situ facilities can undermine the genetic integrity of ex situ collections and potentially contaminate open-pollinated seeds or seedlings destined for the reintroduction of endangered plant species into the wild. In the present study, the potential risk of hybridization between two endangered Chinese endemic species, namely Sinojackia xylocarpa Hu and S. rehderiana Hu, which are naturally allopatric species but were conserved ex situ in Wuhan Botanical Garden (WBG), Wuhan, China, were investigated over three consecutive years from 2003 to 2005. The entire overlapping flowering period of the two species was 14–20 d and the two species shared the same pollinator insects during the entire flowering season in WBG. The floral isolation between the two species was not an issue in the ex situ collection at WBG. The results suggest an opportunity for pollen transfer between species and a potential risk of genetic introgression and loss of genetic identity of open-pollinated seeds produced in the ex situ collection of these two endangered species. An artificial reciprocal cross between S. xylocarpa and S. rehderiana confirmed that the two congener species could readily set seeds, indicating no post-pollination barriers to hybridization and the importance of spatial isolation as a barrier to inter-specific crossing. Therefore, to manage these crossable species with overlapping flowering times and shared pollination vectors in ex situ facilities, spatial isolation should be carefully considered to minimize the possibility of spontaneous hybridization.(Author for correspondence.Tel:027 87510232; Fax: 027 87510331; E-mail: hongwen@wbgcas.cn)

Key words: endangered species, ex situ conservation, hybridization risk, phenology, pollination, Sinojackia rehderiana, Sinojackia xylocarpa.

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