Characterization of Blossom-end Morphology Genes in Tomato and Their Usefulness in Breeding for Smooth Blossom-end Scars

in Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science
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  • 1 Gulf Coast Research and Education Center, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, 5007 60th Street East, Bradenton, FL 34203
  • 2 Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension Center, North Carolina State University, 2016 Fanning Bridge Road, Fletcher, NC 28732

Pointed blossom-end morphology may be used to reduce blossom-end scar size in large-fruited, fresh-market tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.). The usefulness of this characteristic has been limited due to persistence of pointedness on mature fruit, resulting in postharvest bruising, and to close association of pointedness with leaf curl, which may increase foliar disease problems. The inheritance of pointedness in three breeding lines (NC 140, Fla 890559-24, and Fla 894413-1) and four accessions with previously described blossom-end morphology genes [LA 2-5 with persistent style (pst), LA 986 with beaky (bk), LA 1787 with beaky-2 (Bk-2), and LA 2353 with nipple tip (n)] was investigated. In F1 s and F2s of crosses with wild types, some pointedness was observed in heterozygotes, but the level of expression was generally close to wild type expression, except for LA 986. Consequently, Bk-2 in LA 1787 was renamed bk-2. F1 complementation tests were difficult to interpret. Wild types segregated in F2s of all complementation crosses, except for LA 986 × LA 2-5, a result indicating the presence of the same gene in these two accessions. Three new nipple-tip genes were named; n-2 in NC 140, n-3 in Fla 890559-24, and n-4 in Fla 894413-1. None of the seven accessions tested had significant leaf curl. Early identification of mutant plants by the shape of the stylar base in flowers at anthesis was reliable only for bk. Various blossom-end morphology genes may be backcrossed into otherwise desirable breeding lines, and complementing parents may be intercrossed to obtain optimal smoothness in the hybrid without undesirable pointed mature hybrid fruit.

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