Breeding with Caninae section roses

Title: Microsatellite DNA marker inheritance indicates preferential pairing between two highly homologous genomes in polyploid and hemisexual dog-roses, Rosa L. Sect. Caninae DC.

Authors: H Nybom (l), G D Esselink (2), G Werlemark(l) and B Vosman (2)

Authors affiliation: (1) Balsg&d-Department of Crop Science, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Fjalkestadsviigen 459, 291 94 Kristianstad , Sweden

(2) Department of Biodiversity and Breeding, Plant Research International, PO Box 16, 6700 AA Wageningen, The Netherlands

Published in: Heredity, volumn 92, pages 139-150, (2004).

Abstract: "According to previous cytological evidence, the hemisexual dog-rose species, Rosa sect. Caninae, transmit only seven chromosomes (derived from seven bivalents) through their pollen grains, whereas egg cells contain 21, 28 or 35 chromosomes (derived from seven bivalents and 14, 21 or 28 univalents) depending on ploidy level. Two sets of reciprocal pairwise interspecific crosses involving the pentaploid species pair R. dumalis and R. rubiginosa, and the pentaploid/tetraploid species pair R. sherardii and R. villosa, were analysed for 13 and 12 microsatellite DNA loci, respectively. Single loci were represented by a maximum of three simultaneously occurring alleles in R. villosa, and four alleles in the other three parental plants. In the experimentally derived offspring, the theoretical maximum of five alleles was found for only one locus in the pentaploid progenies. Microsatellite DNA allele composition was identical with that of the maternal parent in 10 offspring plants, which were probably derived through apomixis. Almost all microsatellite DNA alleles were shared with the maternal parent also in the remaining offspring, but 1

I would be interested in this article translated into something that the not quite so ‘academic’.

I have not yet gotten a copy of the full paper.

Apomixis is reproduction without fertilization (the pollen is not involved).

Selfing is when a plant uses its own pollen.

The interesting conclusion (to me) is: “Moreover, alleles that were shared between the species in each cross combination comparatively often appear to reside on the bivalent-forming chromosomes, whereas species-specific alleles instead occur comparatively often on the univalent-forming chromosomes and are therefore inherited through the maternal parent only.”

Normally, one expects that the genes are distributed more or less randomly between the egg and the pollen. This report is saying that, at least in the Caninie, the egg gets the species-specific genes. If this is the case, putting Caninie pollen on non Caninie diploid roses (mothers) should result in offspring with very few characteristics of the father (the Caninie).

I have read something from this from Kordes, or Wulff in one of the American Rose Annuals… I thought it was intresting. I wondered if this would happen with eglatine, specifically hybrids such as Lady Penzance. Last year I removed the pollen and covered them without pollinating them. They didn’t form hips, but I did this on only 3 flowers. Perhaps if I did a whole lot more… I think it is very odd that pollinating a rose with Caninie pollen would produce plants that have very little characteristics of Caninie… and then reading else where that when one pollinates Caninie with pollen of other roses, it doesn’t show any or very little characteristics of the other parent. Knowing that, I’m now intrested in seeing Dog Briar hybrids. The one specific one I would like to see is Una, a hybrid that has Gloire de Dijon as one parent. I read it in Shrub and Climbing Roses by David Austin.


I used R. rubrifolia pollen on a rugosa and got semi-rugose rubrifolia-colored leaves–just to confuse the issue further.

Regarding Henry’s summary, Isabella Preston in her work with hybridizing Rosa rugosa with Rosa glauca discovered this more than 70 years ago. However, it’s good to have a scientific explanation using a DNA marker in a research project how it works.

Title: Male correlated non-matroclinal character inheritance in reciprocal hybrids of Rosa section Caninae (DC.) Ser. (Rosaceae).

Authors: Ritz, C. M.; Wissemann, V.

Authors affiliation: Institut fuer Spezielle Botanik, Friedrich-Schiller-Universitaet Jena, Philosophenweg 16, D-07743, Jena, Germany.

Published in: Plant Systematics and Evolution, volumn 241, pages 213-221,(2003).

Abstract: “Artificial F1 hybrids within dog-roses (Rosa section Caninae (DC.) Ser.) have been assessed for expression of morphological characters with regards to the actual taxonomy applied. In the mostly pentaploid members of the section the unique heterogamous Canina-meiosis leads to matroclinal inheritance of characters by transmitting 4/5 of the genetic information via seed donor whereas 1/5 is provided by the pollen donor. Evaluation of phenotypic variability revealed that the two taxonomically relevant characters “widening of the orifice” and “persistence of the sepals” are statistically significant controlled by the pollen donor. Reciprocal crossings confirmed the same pattern. One possible explanation is that this phenomenon might be subject to genomic imprinting mechanisms. The morphological analysis gives clear evidence that conventional taxonomical concept is artificial and does not reflect the evolutionary patterns among dog-roses.”

These papers are very interesting. In the past the idea of two sets of highly homologous chromosomes consistently pairing to produce the prescribed amount of univalents and such has been proposed for Caninae section roses. It’s nice to see some evidence through molecular markers that this is the case. I think it’s a very interesting idea proposed that these two sets of consistently pairing chromosomes are somewhat “universal” across all Caninae section roses and that what makes each species unique are the maternally inherited chromosomes that act as univalents in meiosis. Perhaps to some degree I think this may be the case, but it is far too simplistic and there is strong phenotypic evidence that there is more to it and these “universal” Caninae section rose chromosomes are that generic. For R. rubrifolia’s red foliage to be passed through to progeny as a male (and it does, a friend has a R. laxa x R. rubrifolia hybrid and the rugosa x R. rub. hybrid Joan describes). There are genes that make R. rubrifolia unique within this set of chromosomes that consistently pair. In addition, I have a R. eglanteria (R. rubignosa) x R. pomifera hybrid that looks like R. eglanteria, but finally roots from cuttings well like R. pomifera. In many of my Caninae x non-Caninae section rose hybrids I’ve found very low fertility, perhaps due to the breakdown of Caninae section meiosis. My R. pomifera x polyantha hybrids have had high pollen abortion and minimal hip set.

In wheat there is just one locus on the short arm of chromosome 5 of one of the three parental genomes (wheat is a hexaploid) that controls consistent pairing of homologous chromomes within genomes. When that is mutated and no longer effective, pairing can happen between homologous chromosomes across genomes generating more variability. Perhaps the odd Caninae meiosis is controlled by one or very few genes. It’s interesting to me to see how Caninae type meiosis has been carried over in a compromised way into the albas.

As I continue to work with Caninae section roses I’m looking forward to breaking up more of this preferential pairing through crosses with non-Caninae roses and obtain more variability. Hopefully before I die I’d like to raise enough generations to breed a repeat bloomer with the intensely fragrant foliage of R. eglanteria. Many say that Applejack is very fragrant, but I guess my nose isn’t as sensitive.




I can vouch for differences being passed on through the bivalent/pairing chromosomes. For instance my rugosa X eglanteria was a sickly runt of a plant while my rugosa X glauca (or rubrifolia), like Joan’s, is a healthy hybrid with many traits resembling it’s unusual Caninae pollen parent. There must be some species specific genes located on these bivalent pairing chromosomes or we wouldn’t see such diferences in these analogous hybrids.


As an afterthought, I thought you might like to see pictures of rugosa X glauca. The pictures aren’t great but maybe you can see some glauca traits anyway. Just use the link labeled rugosa X glauca in this table.