Polyploidy means having more than two basic sets of chromosomes. Polyploid plants may be artificially obtained through chemical, physical and biological (2n
gametes) methods. This approach allows an increased gene scope and expression, thus resulting in phenotypic changes such as yield and product quality. Nonetheless, breeding new cultivars through induced polyploidy should overcome deleterious effects that are partly contributed by genome and epigenome instability after polyploidization. Furthermore, shortening the time required from early chromosome set doubling to the final selection of high yielding superior polyploids is a must. Despite these hurdles, plant breeders have successfully obtained polyploid bred-germplasm in broad range of forages after optimizing methods, concentration and time, particularly when using colchicine. These experimental polyploids are a valuable tool for understanding gene expression, which seems to be driven by dosage dependent gene expression, altered gene regulation and epigenetic changes. Isozymes and DNA-based markers facilitated the identification of rare alleles for particular loci when compared with diploids, and also explained their heterozygosity, phenotypic plasticity and adaptability to diverse environments. Experimentally induced polyploid germplasm could enhance fresh herbage yield and quality, e.g., leaf protein content, leaf total soluble solids, water soluble carbohydrates and sucrose content. Offspring of experimentally obtained hybrids should undergo selection for several generations to improve their performance and stability.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited