Investigation of Doubled Haploid Performance and Combining Ability in Short-day Onion

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  • 1 1Texas A&M University, Department of Horticultural Sciences, College Station, TX, 77843-2119
  • | 2 2Texas A&M University, Soil and Crop Sciences

Onions suffer from severe inbreeding depression, which has inhibited the development of homozygous inbred lines in breeding programs. The creation of doubled haploid (DH) lines in onion provides a unique opportunity to evaluate the utility of such lines as parents in a breeding program. For this purpose, two diallele cross experiments were conducted. The first consisted of a six-parent diallele cross using six DH lines developed at Texas A&M University. The second, a four-parent diallele cross performed with two DH lines and two inbred lines from the breeding program. Bulbs from the various crosses were evaluated for diameter, height, centers/bulb, ring thickness, number of rings/bulb, bulb weight, soluble solids content, and pungency. For some traits, general combining ability (GCA) effects explained most of the variation. However, for other traits, specific combining ability (SCA) effects predominated. For all traits, GCA and SCA were always larger than the reciprocal effects (divided into maternal and nonmaternal components). The GCA and SCA effects show an inverse correlation between the number of centers/bulb and ring thickness.

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