Meiotic restitution is considered to be a common mechanism of polyploidization in plants and hence is one of the most important processes in plant speciation. Meiotic behaviour of plant chromosomes is influenced by both genetic and environmental factors. In this study, the meiotic behaviour of cereal crops was investigated, which includes tetraploid wheat genotypes (with and without the meiotic restitution trait) and their derivates (synthetic hexaploid wheats and a doubled haploid (DH) line), grown at two planting dates in the field. In addition, two local landraces of emmer wheat (Triticum turgidum ssp. dicoccum), one wheat cultivar (Chinese spring), one DH triticale cultivar (Eleanor) and one rye accession were included. Immature spikes of mid-autumn and end-winter sowing plants were collected in April and May 2008, respectively, fixed in Carnoy’s solution and stained with hematoxylin. Pollen mother cells (PMCs) from anthers at different stages of meiotic process were analysed for their chromosomal behaviour and irregularities. Meiotic aberrations such as laggards, chromosome bridges, micronuclei, abnormal cytokines, chromatin pulling and meiotic restitution were observed and the studied genotypes were accordingly ranked as follows: triticale > synthetic hexaploid wheats > tetraploid wheats possessing meiotic restitution > tetraploid wheats lacking meiotic restitution > rye. The results indicated that the samples that had been planted in the autumn, thus experiencing an optimum temperature level at the flowering stage, exhibited less meiotic irregularities than winter planting samples that encountered heat stress at the flowering period.
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