Plants have evolved many systems to prevent inappropriate fertilization. Among them, incompatibility is a well-organized system in which pollen germination or pollen-tube growth is inhibited in pistils. Self-incompatibility (SI), rejecting self-pollen, promotes outbreeding in flowering plants. On the other hand, inter-species incompatibility, preventing gene flow among species to restrict outbreeding, usually occurs unilaterally, and is known as unilateral incompatibility (UI). In Brassicaceae, little is known about the molecular mechanism of UI, although S-locus genes involved in recognition of self-pollen have been characterized in the SI system. In the present study, we characterized novel UI observed between members of the same species, Brassica rapa; pollen of Turkish SI lines was specifically rejected by pistils of the Japanese commercial SI variety 'Osome'. The incompatible phenotype of this intra-species UI closely resembled that of SI. Segregation analysis revealed that the pollen factor of this UI was not linked to the S-locus.
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