Onion Trait Heritability and Response from Selection

in Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science
Christopher S. CramerDepartment of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Box 30003, MSC 3Q, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM 88003-8003

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Realized heritability estimates of bolting percentage, pink root and fusarium basal rot severities and incidences, and percentage of single-centered bulbs were estimated for half-sib families of an intermediate-day, open-pollinated onion (Allium cepa L.) population using selection response analysis. Half-sib families were selected based upon an index that equally weighted bolting percentage, pink root and fusarium basal rot severities and incidences, percentage of single-centered bulbs, and bulb quality. Families were subjected to one cycle of half-sib family recurrent selection. Pink root and fusarium basal rot severity was reduced by 17% and 7%, respectively, with realized heritability estimates of 1.28 and 0.65, respectively. More progress for pink root severity was made than was selected. Disease incidence was reduced by 18% and 12%, respectively, with heritability estimates of 0.65 and 0.60, respectively. Very little progress was made for the percentage of single-centered bulbs and this was reflected in a heritability estimate of 0.17. Selection based upon multiple characters at the same time may reduce the effectiveness of making improvements in a single trait. However even with low to moderate heritability, improvements were made, and suggest that further improvements can be made through selection.

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