2020 Volume 70 Issue 1 Pages 32-38
Common buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum Moench 2n = 2x = 16) is an outcrossing crop with heteromorphic self-incompatibility due to its distylous flowers, called pin and thrum. In pin plants, a long style is combined with short stamens and small pollen grains; in thrum plants, a short style is combined with long stamens and large pollen grains. Both the intra-morph self-incompatibility and flower morphology are controlled by a single genetic locus named the S locus; thrum plants are heterozygous (Ss) and pin plants are homozygous recessive (ss) at this locus. Self-incompatibility is an obstacle for establishing pure lines and fixation of agronomically useful genes. Elucidation of the molecular mechanism of heterostylous self-incompatibility of common buckwheat has continued for a quarter of a century. Recent advances in genomic and transcriptomic analyses using next-generation sequencing have made it possible to determine the genomic region harboring the buckwheat S locus and to identify novel genes at this locus. In this review, we summarize the current knowledge on buckwheat heterostyly gained from conventional and molecular genetics and genomics. We also discuss the application of these studies to breeding of common buckwheat.