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Front. Plant Sci. | doi: 10.3389/fpls.2019.01344

Starmaya: The first Arabica F1 coffee hybrid produced using genetic male sterility

 Frédéric Georget1*, Lison Marie1,  Edgardo Alpizar2,  Philippe Courtel2,  Mélanie Bordeaux2, Jose Martin Hidalgo2,  Pierre Marraccini1, Jean-christophe Breitler1,  Eveline Déchamp1, Clément Poncon2,  Hervé Etienne1 and  Benoit Bertrand1
  • 1Centre de coopération internationale en recherche agronomique pour le développement (CIRAD), France
  • 2Independent researcher, Nicaragua

In the present paper, we evaluated the implementation of a seed production system based on the exploitation of male-sterility on coffee. We study specifically the combination between CIR-SM01 and Marsellesa® (a Sarchimor line) which provides a hybrid population called Starmaya. We demonstrated that the establishment of seed garden under natural pollination is possible and produces a sufficient amount of hybrid seeds to be multiplied efficiently and economically. As expected for F1 hybrid, the performances of Starmaya are highly superior to conventional cultivars. However, we observed some heterogeneity on Starmaya cultivar in the field. We confirmed by genetic marker analysis that the off-types were partly related to the heterozygosity of the CIR-SM01 clone and could not be modified. As concern rust resistance of Starmaya, we saw that Marsellesa® should be more fully fixed genetically. If so, we should be able to decrease significantly the percentage of rust incidence of Starmaya from 15 to 5 percent, which would be quite acceptable at a commercial level. Starmaya represents the proof of concept for the mass propagation of arabica F1 hybrid seeds using male-sterility.
Finally, we discuss the possibility to increase the number of hybrid varieties produced by seed exploring some initiatives to identify male-sterility markers to induce male-sterility on any conventional cultivar. This would definitively open up the universe of known arabica cultivars to be used in breeding new F1 hybrids.

Keywords: Arabica coffee, F1 hybrid seed, Male-sterility, Micropropagation, Commercial production

Received: 15 May 2019; Accepted: 27 Sep 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Georget, Marie, Alpizar, Courtel, Bordeaux, Hidalgo, Marraccini, Breitler, Déchamp, Poncon, Etienne and Bertrand. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Frédéric Georget, Centre de coopération internationale en recherche agronomique pour le développement (CIRAD), Montpellier, France,