Genetic relationships among Hylocereus and Selenicereus vine cacti (Cactaceae): Evidence from hybridization and cytological studies

Noemi Tel-Zur, Shahal Abbo, Dudy Bar-Zvi, Yosef Mizrahi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


• Background and Aims: Hylocereus and Selenicereus are native to tropical and sub-tropical America. Based on its taxonomic status and crossability relations it was postulated that H. megalanthus (syn. S. megalanthus) is an allotetraploid (2n = 4x = 44) derived from natural hybridization between two closely related diploid taxa. The present work aimed at elucidating the genetic relationships between species of the two genera. • Methods: Crosses were performed and the putative hybrids were analysed by chromosome counts and morphological traits. The ploidy level of hybrids was confirmed by fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) of rDNA sites. Genomic in situ hybridization (GISH) was used in an attempt to identify the putative diploid genome donors of H. megalanthus and an artificial interploid hybrid. • Key Results: Reciprocal crosses among four diploid Hylocereus species (H. costaricensis, H. monacanthus (syn. H. polyrhizus), H. undatus and Hylocereus sp.) yielded viable diploid hybrids, with regular chromosome pairing. Reciprocal crosses between these Hylocereus spp. and H. megalanthus yielded viable triploid, pentaploid, hexaploid and aneuploid hybrids. Morphological and phenological traits confirm the hybrid origin. In situ detection of rDNA sites was in accord with the ploidy status of the species and hybrid studied. GISH results indicated that overall sequence composition of H. megalanthus is similar to that of H. ocamponis and S. grandiflorus. High sequence similarity was also found between the parental genomes of H. monacanthus and H. megalanthus in one triploid hybrid. • Conclusions: The ease of obtaining partially fertile F1 hybrids and the relative sequence similarity (in GISH study) suggest close genetic relationships among the taxa analysed.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)527-534
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of Botany
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2004

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank the reviewers Dr J. M. Leggett and Dr N. P. Taylor for their valuable comments, Ms Hadassa van Oss (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem) and Mr Joseph Mouyal (Ben-Gurion University of the Negev) for technical assistance, and Ms Dorot Imber for editing the manuscript. This study was supported in part by the UCLA-BGU Program of Academic Cooperation.


  • Cactaceae
  • Fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH)
  • Genetic relationships
  • Genomic in situ hybridization (GISH)
  • Hylocereus
  • Pitaya
  • Polyploidy
  • Selenicereus
  • Vine cacti


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