Challenges for wheat doubled haploid (DH) production using anther culture include genotype variability in green plant regeneration and spontaneous chromosome doubling. The frequency of chromosome doubling in our program can vary from 14% to 80%. Caffeine or trifluralin was applied at the start of the induction phase to improve early genome doubling. Caffeine treatment at 0.5 mM for 24 h significantly improved green plant production in two of the six spring wheat crosses but had no effect on the other crosses. The improvements were observed in Trojan/Havoc and Lancer/LPB14-0392, where green plant numbers increased by 14% and 27% to 161 and 42 green plants per 30 anthers, respectively. Caffeine had no significant effect on chromosome doubling, despite a higher frequency of doubling in several caffeine treatments in the first experiment (67–68%) compared to the control (56%). In contrast, trifluralin significantly improved doubling following a 48 h treatment, from 38% in the control to 51% and 53% in the 1 µM and 3 µM trifluralin treatments, respectively. However, trifluralin had a significant negative effect on green plant regeneration, declining from 31.8 green plants per 20 anthers (control) to 9–25 green plants per 20 anthers in the trifluralin treatments. Further work is required to identify a treatment regime with caffeine and/or anti-mitotic herbicides that consistently increases chromosome doubling in wheat without reducing green plant regeneration.
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