Heritability and Phenotypic Correlations of Six Pecan Nut Characteristics

in Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science
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  • 1 Pecan Genetics and Breeding Research, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Route 2, Box 133, Somerville, TX 77879
  • | 2 Department of Animal Science, University of Georgia, Tifton, GA 31793

Heritability estimates for pecan [Carya illinoinensis (Wangenh.) K. Koch] nut weight, nut buoyancy, nut volume, nut density, kernel weight, and percentage kernel were determined from 8748 nut samples representing 152 families collected during 25 years in the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) pecan breeding program at Brownwood, Texas. Measurements were corrected for year-to-year environmental variability using least-squares constants of individual year effects. Adjusted values were then regressed on midparent means. Generally, heritability (h2) estimates were low to moderate: nut weight 0.35, nut buoyancy 0.18, nut volume 0.35, nut density 0.03, kernel weight 0.38, and percentage kernel 0.32. The low values are probably due to the extreme alternate bearing tendency of this species, since crop load affects pecan nut characteristics so directly. Phenotypic correlations among these traits showed that larger or heavier nuts had significantly higher kernel weight, buoyancy, and percentage kernel. Nut density increased with higher nut and kernel weight, but decreased with nut volume.

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