Transmission ratio distortion due to the bl gene in table beet

Austin, DG, I. L.,  Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science,  126:340-343. 2001.

The bl gene conditions a blotchy phenotype (irregular sectors of red and white root color) in table beet (Beta vulgaris ssp, vulgaris). Segregation of the bl gene was found to be consistent with a single recessive gene, however, some evidence for a departure from a single gene model was observed when blbl plants were used as females. Tn this report, segregation of the bl gene was examined in greater detail in 10 F-2 populations derived from crosses of red blotchy-rooted females (genotype blbl, denoted blotchy) with red-rooted males (BlBl, denoted red,), and 10 Fz populations derived from the reciprocal cross. Tn blbl x BlBl crosses, the proportion of red-rooted progeny was greater than 0.75 in seven of the crosses, and was significantly greater (P = 0.005) in three crosses. A test for heterogeneity was significant, indicating that the proportion of red-rooted progeny differed significantly in these 10 crosses. In BlBl x blbl crosses, the proportion of red-rooted progeny was <0.75 in seven of the crosses and there were no significant departures from the expected 3:1 ratio in any of the individual crosses. However, a pooled estimate of the segregation ratio showed a significant (P < 0.01) departure from the 3:1 ratio (pooled estimate = 0.71.), These data demonstrate transmission ratio distortion at the bl locus when blbl plants are used as both females and males in matings with wild type plants, but the degree of distortion is greater when blbl plants are used as females. Ratio distortion in such crosses may be due to a variety of factors, including increased transmission of the bl gene through female or male gametes depending on the direction of the cross, reduced fitness of maternally derived blbl progeny, epigenetic phenomena, increased fitness of paternally derived blbl progeny, or linkage of the bl gene to viability genes.