Agave tequilana Weber var. azul, is the only one variety permitted by federal law in México to be used for tequila production which is the most popular contemporary alcoholic beverage made from agave and recognized worldwide. Despite the economic, genetic, and ornamental value of the plant, it has not been subjected to detailed cytogenetic research, which could lead to a better understanding of its reproduction for future genetic improvement.
The objective of this work was to study the meiotic behavior in pollen mother cells and its implications on the pollen viability in Agave tequilana Weber var. azul.
The analysis of Pollen Mother Cells in anaphase I (A-I) showed 82.56% of cells with a normal anaphase and, 17.44% with an irregular anaphase. In which 5.28% corresponded to cells with side arm bridges (SAB); 3.68% cells with one bridge and one fragment; 2.58% of irregular anaphase showed cells with one or two lagging chromosomes and 2.95% showed one acentric fragment; cells with two bridges and cells with two bridges and one acentric fragment were observed in frequencies of 1.60% and 1.35% respectively. In anaphase II some cells showed bridges and fragments too. Aberrant A-I cells had many shrunken or empty pollen grains (42.00%) and 58.00 % viable pollen.
The observed meiotic irregularities suggest that structural chromosome aberrations have occurred, such as heterozygous inversions, sister chromatid exchanges, deletions and duplications which in turn are reflected in a low pollen viability.