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Apparent male fertility in Musa germplasm
Current efforts to produce improved genotypes of plantain and banana (Musa spp.) depend on crossing female-fertile clones with accessions that produce viable pollen. Musa accessions (168) were screened for production of viable pollen based on staining with acetocarmine glycerol jelly. Diploid hybrids and landraces produced significantly more pollen than triploids and tetraploids, suggesting more successful crosses when using diploid accessions as male parents. There was a positive correlation between the amount of pollen produced and the level of viability in both hybrids (r = 0.65, P £ 0.01) and landraces (r = 0.61, P £ 0.01). This finding suggests that closely associated genetic factors determine these characteristics in Musa, while environmental conditions also may influence the quality and quantity of pollen produced. Pollen production at anthesis was absent in 28 accessions. Of the 140 accessions with pollen, 67 were sufficiently fertile for use as male parents in the breeding program.