063 Biological Basis for Noninfectious Bud-failure in Almond (Prunus dulcis)

in HortScience
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  • 1 University of California, Davis, CA 95616

Noninfectious bud-failure (BF) is a genetic disorder in almond, associated with nursery source selection. Previously (Kester, PASHS, 1968), the latent potential for BF (BFpot) was shown to be heritable but its phenotypic expression (BFexp) varied among individual seedlings of a populations as a function of age. Vegetative propagation perpetuates BFpot of individual propagules (Kester and Asay, JASHS, 1978b) but the subsequent age of BFexp within individual plants is a function of accumulated exposure to high summer temperature and growth (Kester and Asay, JASHS 1978a). A recent 7-year “somatic heritability” study of 12 commercial nursery sources (Kester et al., HortScience 1998abst) portrays the total range of variability of BFpot and BFexp within the entire `Carmel' almond clonal population and includes a pattern of BF increase in consecutive vegetative propagation cycles that mimics patterns produced by phase change (i.e., juvenile > mature) phenomena (Hartmann et al., 1997). Although phase change potential is heritable in seedling populations, phase change expression is not (Kester, HortScience 1983). Furthermore phase changes can be reversed under particular conditions during consecutive vegetative propagations (Hartmann et al., 1997). In contrast, evidence shows that BF produces permanent changes in genotype that are heritable and irreversable. High correlations exist between BFpot of individual source blocks, individual trees and individual budsticks and the age and severity of BFexp in progeny trees. The apparent continuous change in BFpot and BFexp within clones appears to be the pattern of expression of different populations of increasingly defective (?) somatic cells that result from consecutive sequences of change during annual cycles of growth and generations of vegetative propagation.

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