Heterosis seed comparison

Jatropha hybrid heterosis: 50 fruits in a single cluster

Jatropha hybrid heterosis

50 fruits in one cluster

We are currently observing another impressive result of hybrid vigor in our Jatropha Breeding Program: a six months old hybrid exhibits the first fruit cluster with exactly 50 healthy fruits. The seedling germinated on March 17 (my birthday :-)) and has reached a height of more than 2.5 meters by now. Manual pollination has been conducted 10 days ago.

Among other this hybrid also shows a distinctively superior tolerance to drought stress than both parents. As usual drought tolerance goes together with relative (horizontal) pest resistance.

2 sister plants of the identical hybrid which had germinated in the same week are showing similar impressive fruit counts for their first clusters: 35 and 42 respectively.

CLO7.10xGHLT hybrid

Hybrid fruit cluster

Update: the same fruit bunch 10 days later…






Update 2: On November 23 we harvested the first fruits from this bunch. Obviously, we were very curious to find out about a possible heterosis effect on seed size and weight. Well, what can I say? It’s another breakthrough really that would deserve its own separate article on this site:

We weighed 15 freshly harvested seeds at a total of 18 grams. This converts into a 100-seed weight of 120g. That’s a new record in our breeding program.

Heterosis seed comparison

Seed comparison with parental accessions

As a matter of completion, the 100-seed weights of the parents:

  • female parent (top left): 90g
  • male parent (top right): 45g.

It will be interesting what we are going to see in the next generations of hybrid crosses. The plant has already been crossed with most of our high quality accessions and also back crossing with both parents has begun. We will definitely report again in the future. 

10 thoughts on “Jatropha hybrid heterosis: 50 fruits in a single cluster

  1. Frighton Kachule

    This very good and profitable hybrid, very interested in it can you please help with some. here we have a new project of jatropha where we are mobilizing farmers to also have grown this for commercial, we are lacking more support which one of them is having this type of breed for better and promising future of these local farmers.
    thank you

    1. bpl Post author

      our material is not for sale, sorry. This plant is part of an extensive breeding platform and we offer selected germplasm as part of our services portfolio which includes client site customized breeding programs.

      We spend millions on developing unique, high yielding varieties. Giving away intermediary products either for money or for free would endanger the value we are determined to build up over the years.

  2. Dr. Kins Varghese

    I think it's a good development in fact amazing. However one question I have is whether this is seen in a few plants or an entire population of thousands. This is very important to be taken note of.

    1. bpl Post author

      Dr. Vargese, heterosis describes a common effect in plant breeding which is well known and exploited in many crops. If F1 hybrids are produced from the same 2 stable parental lines the result can expected to always be similar. The picture is from one of 3 similar plants we currently observe in our breeding orchard. All 3 show a similar behavior. In addition to the large numbers of female flowers per inflorescence they are also setting new inflorescences at a high speed.

      Please note we are not advertising this material for sale in any way.

      You should also keep in mind, that your concern is only valid for seed based propagation methods. Any type of cloning, be it through cuttings or tissue culture would always produce identical copies of a superior source with similar properties.

      1. Dr. Kins Varghese

        I totally agree with the science explained by you. However , my question is regarding the plant population, because there are claims from all over the world on heterosis in Jatropha and their exploitation for better qualitative and quantitative traits. But nothing has come out.
        You need to see hundreds or probably 1000's of plants performance and assess them based on he original and then report.
        My point does not mean in anyway negating your views. I totally agree and appreciate ur efforts.
        At least someone is doing valuable contribution to the future of Jatropha. Thanks

        Dr. Kins Varghese

        1. bpl Post author

          Dr. Varghese,
          glad to hear you see value in our work.

          In fact I don't see heterosis results for JcL "claimed" around the world. I am only aware of 2 recent reports from South East Asia specifically focused on heterosis. However, by definition practically all breeding improvements today including those of JOIL are of course mostly the result of heterosis effects.

          I can only partially agree with your call for hundreds or even thousands of plants that need to be observed (by us). Look at how heavily your own company JOIL is relying on cloning (in the form of tissue culture). I said it before, stable inbread lines of new varieties would only be needed if you want to sell open pollinated seeds. And who wants that? Cloning on the other hand is widely accepted for tree crops exactly because it avoids the need for testing in extensive numbers.

          Let me add, I have not seen any public reports on large scale field testing by JOIL. But a lot of active advertising of planting material including the latest JO-H2.

          In our case we only describe exact findings from our program because we believe there are people who are interested. We do not sell any planting material to farmers anywhere. That is not part of our business strategy. Therefore we have no need for any systematic field tests or even an obligation to do so.

          On the more interesting side of this discussion: we harvested the first 15 seeds from this fruit cluster yesterday. At a total weight of 18g, which results in a 100-seed weight of 120. The average seed weight of the parents: female 90, male 45. So we observe another enormous heterosis effect in seed weight. I will have to work on a small bottom-up scenario what this could mean for overall yield development per plant/ha/year.

      1. Tomothy Ayinla

        Please, let me know how to get this non toxic jatrpha. I will like to plant more of these on my over 5 acres land.

        1. Ulrich Riemann Post author

          thanks for your interest in our work.

          The plant we describe in this article represents an intermediate step in one of our pre-mapped breeding paths. While it indicates what targeted hybrid vigor (heterosis) breeding can achieve this is in no way a final result we would consider to market publicly. In fact, we are already exploring a follow on generation deriving from this type of hybrids and we expect even more impressive results during the course of this year.

          As Jatropha breeding is a highly cost intensive activity and we are a fully commercially funded organization we have to eventually earn our investment (approx. 2M USD per year). At this point we believe that only our client site breeding approach can help us recover the investment. Therefore, don’t expect any of our hybrids to become available on the open market any time soon. Sorry for that.

          We publish some of our breeding achievements mainly to demonstrate to the general public what the Jatropha curcas plant can become in the future. This is meant to counter all the Jatropha bashing occurring on the web almost daily by those who haven’t understood the true potential yet. The world is in desperate need of more protein. High yielding non-toxic Jatropha is the future for animal feed in the tropics.



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