Seedlings of 108 families from crosses among 42 peach [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch] cultivars and selections were evaluated for six plant characteristics in 1993, 1994, and 1995. The data were analyzed by using a mixed linear model, with years treated as fixed and additive genotypes as random factors. Best linear unbiased prediction (BLUP) was used to estimate fixed effects. Restricted maximum likelihood (REML) was used to estimate variance components, and a multiple trait model was used to estimate genetic and phenotypic covariances among traits. The narrow-sense heritability estimates were 0.41, 0.29, 0.48, 0.47, 0.43, and 0.23 for flower density, flowers per node, node density, fruit density, fruit set, and blind node propensity, respectively. Most genetic correlations among pairs of traits were ≥0.30 and were, in general, much higher than the corresponding phenotypic correlations. Flower density and flowers per node (ra = 0.95), fruit density and fruit set (ra = 0.84) and flower density and fruit density (ra = 0.71) were the combinations of traits that had the highest genetic correlation estimates. Direct selection practiced solely for flower density (either direction) is expected to have a greater effect on fruit density than direct selection for fruit density.
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