Interspecific hybridization is a useful technique to introduce characteristics from wild species into crops. Garden asparagus (Asparagus officinalis, 2n = 2x = 20) is an economically important vegetable that is native to the Mediterranean region but widely cultivated in many countries. The genus Asparagus is comprised of over 100 species. Asparagus kiusianus (2n = 2x = 20) is a wild asparagus species endemic to Japan. This species occurs on the coast and is likely to be a salt-resistant species. Although the geographic distribution of these two species is not close, molecular phylogenetic analysis demonstrated that these two species are closely related. In this study, a reciprocal cross between A. officinalis and A. kiusianus was carried out by hand pollination, and progeny were obtained from both crossings. These progeny exhibited a morphologically intermediate phenotype in terms of flower shape, and restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis confirmed that these were indeed interspecific hybrids. The interspecific hybrids were fertile, and backcross progeny with garden asparagus was also generated. These interspecific hybrids are expected to supply novel traits to garden asparagus.
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