Onion Trait Heritability and Response from Selection

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

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.