Mating System of Brassica napus and Its Relationship with Morphological and Ecological Parameters in Northwestern Spain

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Mating systems play a central role in determining population genetic structure and the methods to be used to develop new cultivars and preserve the variability of a crop. A Brassica napus crop called nabicol is grown in northwestern Spain. Knowledge on its mating system is needed in order to manage the germplasm correctly and design breeding strategies. The aims of this work were to study the mating system of nabicol under field conditions and the relationship of different traits with the mating system. We analyzed 2 populations with microsatellites using a multilocus approach, finding that both had a mixed mating system with an outcrossing rate of 30%. This system would allow application of breeding methods for both autogamous and allogamous species in order to improve nabicol populations. Nabicol populations should be multiplied in isolation conditions in the same way as allogamous species in order to avoid contamination and preserve genetic integrity. The relationship of outcrossing rate, phenological, ecological, and morphological traits was studied, but the model explained only a small percentage of the variability. None of the traits studied could be used as indirect selection criteria for a type of mating system under the conditions of northwestern Spain. This is the first work that studies in depth the possible causes of the mixed mating system of B. napus, finding that, surprisingly, it is not related to the most obvious factors.

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