(255) A Comparison of Phenotypic and Marker-assisted Selection in Cucumber

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  • 1 1University of Wisconsin-Madison, Department of Horticulture, Madison, WI, 53706
  • | 2 2University of Wisconsin-Madison, USDA/ARS, Vegetable Crops Unit, Madison, WI, 53706

To increase yield in cucumber (Cucumussativus L.), we designed a recurrent selection program utilizing phenotypic (PHE) and marker-assisted (MAS) selection for the development of multiple lateral branching (MLB; branches per plant), gynoecious, early genotypes possessing high fruit length to diameter ratio (L:D). These yield components are under genetic control of few quantitative trait loci (QTL; 2-6 per trait), which have been placed on a moderately saturated molecular linkage map. Four inbred lines, complementary for the target traits, were intermated and the resulting population underwent MAS and PHE, as well as random mating (RAN), for three cycles. Selections by PHE were visually made for all four traits at the whole plant level. Selections based on MAS contained the highest number of desired marker genotypes from 20 marker loci (SSR, RAPD, SCAR, SNP). Using the same selection scheme and intensity allowed a direct comparison of MAS to PHE. Selection was equally effective for MLB and L:D by MAS (3.5 and 3.0) and PHE (3.6 and 3.0), which were both superior to RAN (2.8 and 2.8). For earliness (days to anthesis) and gynoecy (percent female), MAS (41.8 and 26.6) was less effective than PHE (40.5 and 81.8) and RAN (41.0 and 80.9), which were equal. For yield (fruit per plant), RAN (1.90) and MAS (1.88) were equal, but less than PHE (2.15). After three cycles of PHE, further selection by MAS identified superior genotypes, which were intermated. Superior hybrids were selected by MAS and underwent one backcross generation. In some backcrosses, gains were made in every trait compared to the PHE Cycle 3 mean, while in other backcrosses, gains were made only in some traits. Improvement by MAS was very effective during line extraction for these yield components.

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