Because sexual polyploidization broadens genetic basis and supply plant breeders with more variability for the selection process, it can be useful in red clover breeding. This paper reports results of three crossing cycles, starting from a parental generation of tetraploid red clover plants (female parent), and diploids from the Quiñiqueli cultivar, selected for production of more than 1% of giant pollen grains (male parent) aiming to obtain tetraploid plants to be used in red clover breeding programs. Crosses in the next generations were performed by mutual cross-pollinations. Chromosome number chimerism and high pollen sterility were detected in F1, F2 and F3, but there was a trend towards increasing seed production and seed viability along the generations, probably due to successful competition between fertile and sterile gametes. The identification of fertile triploids, as well as their recurrent formation along the generations, indicates that triploid block is not complete in red clover, and that triploids may be successfully used as a bridge for the production of sexual polyploids.
Trifolium pratense; plant breeding; triploid bridge; unreduced gametes