Morphology and Anatomy of the Fused Vein Trait in Cucurbita pepo L.

in Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science
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  • 1 Department of Plant Biology, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH 03824

The morphology, growth rate and anatomy of the fused vein trait were characterized in Cucurbita pepo using the inbreds NH2405 (fused vein), NH7210 (moderately fused vein), and NH614 (normal). Morphological analysis showed that the trait is characterized by a partial fusion of the five primary leaf veins. Fusion begins at the distal point of the petiole and extends along the central vein. Branching of the veins is delayed and there is a reduction of the interveinal leaf blade. Consequently, the upper leaf surface appears puckered or wrinkled. Depending on genetic background, the onset of fused vein leaf production starts at the fourth to tenth leaf stage and continues throughout vegetative growth. The extent of fusion increases with leaf number but stabilizes by the twentieth leaf stage maximum extent of vein fusion also varies with genetic background (5-20 cm). Though fused vein and normal inbreds differed in the rate and pattern of leaf growth, examination of F2 and BC populations revealed no significant effect of the fused vein trait on leaf number, leaf size, and rate of leaf initiation. Anatomical examination revealed different vascular patterns in the transition zone between petiole and leaf blade for normal and fused vein leaves. In normal leaves, the vascular bundles of the petiole enlarge and coalesce to form a vascular crescent. The crescent reorganizes and diverges as large vascular columns and pairs of smaller flanking vascular bundles into each vein. In contrast, two cycles of enlargement, coalescence, and dispersal occur in fused vein leaves.

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