Breeding Strawberries at the Decaploid Level

in Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science

Two groups of Fragaria decaploid (2n = 70, x = 7) breeding populations were studied. The first was derived from pentaploid (2n = 35) and hexaploid (2n = 42) natural or synethetic interspecific hybrids between octoploid (2n = 56) F. chiloensis (L.) Duch. or F. virginiana Duch. both from California, and various Fragaria diploids (2n = 14). Their chromosome number was doubled with colchicine or through the naturally generated unreduced gametes. They were selfed repetitively, intercrossed, and open pollinated. Gametic viability of the hermaphroditic and female decaploid hybrids exceeded 50%. The hybrids exhibited heterosis for runner production and vegetative vigor. Fragaria chiloensis bred for large fruit and desirable fruit qualities, and, in combination with diploids F. vesca L. and F. viridis Duch., resulted in hybrids that produced a single early spring crop and prolific runner production throughout the summer. Fragaria virginiana L. derivatives were characterized by high pollen fertility, and by day neutrality (photo-insensitivity). Together, they may contribute genes for adaptation to various regions and climates of the world and for pest and disease resistance. The second and most important group of decaploids involved here were those derived from hybrids between day-neutral octoploid cultivars (F. ×ananassa) crossed to F. vesca or F. viridis. This group of decaploids combined the genomes of the best octoploid cultivars with those of the above diploid species: facilitating the incorporation of genes responsible for high yield, day neutrality, and excellent fruit quality into the decaploid strawberries.

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