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Thomas M. Gradziel, Bruce Lampinen, Joseph H. Connell, and Mario Viveros

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Ashraf Abdallah, Miguel H. Ahumada, and Thomas M. Gradziel

Seed of California almond [Prunus dulcis (Mill.) D.A. Webb, syn. P. amygdalus Batsch, and P. communis (L.) Arcangeli, non-Huds.] genotypes contained very low saturated fatty acids, high monounsaturated fatty acids, and low polyunsaturated fatty acids. Kernel oil consisted primarily of five fatty acids: palmetic, palmetoleic, stearic, oleic, and linoleic. Linolenic acid was only present in amounts of <0.02% and only in a few samples. Small but significant differences among genotypes and sampling sites were found in the proportions of palmetic, palmetoleic, and stearic fatty acids. The major differences in fatty acid composition among genotypes was found in the proportions of oleic, a monounsaturated fatty acid, and linoleic, a polyunsaturated fatty acid. The proportion of oleic acid was highest, ranging from ≈62% to 76%, and was highly and negatively correlated with linoleic acid levels. Usable genetic variation and a significant genotype × environment interaction were identified for oil content and composition. The introgression of new germplasm from peach and related species does not appear to reduce oil quantity or quality, and may offer opportunities for further genetic improvement of kernel oil composition.

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Kristi K. Barckley, Sandra L. Uratsu, Thomas M. Gradziel, and Abhaya M. Dandekar

The California almond industry is the largest supplier of almonds [Prunus dulcis (Miller) D.A. Webb] in the United States and throughout the world. Self-incompatibility is a major issue in almond production as it greatly affects nut set. In this study, we determined full-length sequences for alleles Sa - Si, determined the genotypes of 44 California cultivars, and assigned the cultivars to cross-incompatibility groups (CIGs). Newly identified S-alleles led to an increase in the number of CIGs. A pairwise distance tree was constructed using the aligned amino acid sequences showing their similarity. Four pairs of alleles (Sc and Se, Sg and Sh, Sd and Sj, and Sb and Sf) showed high sequence similarity. Because of its simplicity, reproducibility, and ease of analysis, PCR is the preferred method for genotyping S-alleles.

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Kenneth R. Tourjee, Diane M. Barrett, Marisa V. Romero, and Thomas M. Gradziel

The variability in fresh and processed fruit flesh color of six clingstone processing peach [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch] genotypes was measured using CIELAB color variables. The genotypes were selected based on the relative fruit concentrations of β-carotene and β-cryptoxanthin. Significant (p < 0.0001) differences were found among the genotypes for the L*, a*, and b* color variables of fresh and processed fruit. Mean color change during processing, as measured by ΔELAB, was greatest for `Ross' and least for `Hesse'. A plot of the first two principal components (PCs) obtained from PC analysis of the L*, a*, and b* variables for fresh and processed fruit revealed three clusters of genotypes that match groupings based on the relative concentrations in fresh fruit of carotenoid pigments. Path analysis showed that variation in β-cryptoxanthin concentration was more precisely determined from color data than β-carotene concentration. Chemical names used: β-β-carotene (β-carotene), (3R)-β-β-caroten-3-ol (β-cryptoxanthin).

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Cameron P. Peace, Carlos H. Crisosto, Fredrick A. Bliss, and Thomas M. Gradziel

Candidate gene (CG) analysis can be an efficient approach for identifying genes controlling important traits in fruit production. Three chronological steps have been described for determining candidate genes for a trait—proposing, screening, and validating—and we have applied these to the problem of internal breakdown of peach and nectarine. Internal breakdown (IB), also known as chilling injury, is the collective term for various disorders that occur during prolonged cold storage and/or after subsequent ripening of stone fruit. Symptoms include mealiness, browning, and bleeding. Candidate genes for IB symptoms were proposed based on knowledge of the biochemical or physiological pathways leading to phenotypic expression of the traits. Gene sequences for proposed CGs were obtained primarily from the Genome Database for Rosaceae. Screening the CGs involved identifying polymorphism within a progeny population, relying mainly on simple PCR tests. Several polymorphic CGs were located on a peach linkage map and compared with phenotypic variation for IB susceptibility. A major QTL for mealiness coincided with the Freestone-Melting flesh locus, which itself is likely to be controlled by a CG encoding endopolygalacturonase, an enzyme involved in pectin degradation. Further gene sequences positioned on the consensus linkage map of Prunus by other researchers were co-located with QTLs for IB traits. Validation of the role of identified CGs will require detailed physiological or transgenic studies.

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Dale E. Kester, Kenneth A. Shackel, Warren C. Micke, Mario Viveros, and Thomas M. Gradziel

The spatial and temporal pattern of noninfectious bud failure (BF) expression (BFexp) was studied during seven growing seasons in a population of `Carmel' almond trees originating from twelve commercial propagation sources. All progeny trees were grown in a single experimental site with high prevailing summer temperatures. BFexp increased continuously but irregularly in each nursery population as measured as the proportion of trees showing BF and as an average BFexp rating. Populations from the 12 nurseries represented increasing clonal generations from the original seedling tree and showed increasing levels of BF, as well as a decreasing shape value and increasing scale value derived by a failure statistics model. Models for development, distribution and hazard functions were defined for each of the 12 sources studied. Only sources from the original tree and source A demonstrated potential for commercial use. A significant correlation was found between average yearly increase in BFexp and the average daytime temperature for the previous June. The June period coincides with a specific stage in the seasonal growth cycle when vegetative buds mature.

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Toshio Hanada, Kyoko Fukuta, Hisayo Yamane, Tomoya Esumi, Ryutaro Tao, Thomas M. Gradziel, Abhaya M. Dandekar, Ángel Fernández i Martí, José M. Alonso, and Rafel Socias i Company

Most of the self-compatible (SC) cultivars of almond [Prunus dulcis (Mill.) D.A. Webb. syn. P. amygdalus Batsch] have the Sf haplotype. In this study, we cloned and characterized the S locus region of the Sf haplotype of SC ‘Lauranne’. The relative transcriptional orientation of SFBf and Sf-RNase and the physical distance between them are similar to those of other functional self-incompatible (SI) S haplotypes of Prunus, indicating that the genomic structure of the SC Sf haplotype appears to be intact. Although there is no apparent mutation in the coding sequence of SFBf, the Sf-RNase sequence in this study and previously reported Sf-RNase sequences show discrepancies. First, as opposed to previous indications, the ‘Lauranne’ Sf-RNase sequence encodes a histidine residue in place of a previously reported arginine residue in the conserved C2 region of Prunus S-RNase. Direct sequencing of the polymerase chain reaction products from the Sf-RNase of ‘Tuono’ confirmed that ‘Tuono’ Sf-RNase also encodes the histidine residue. We found another difference in the ‘Lauranne’ Sf-RNase sequence and other reported Sf-RNase sequences. Namely, ‘Lauranne’ Sf-RNase encodes a phenylalanine residue in place of a previously reported leucine residue in the conserved C5 region of Prunus S-RNase. This is also the case for ‘Tuono’ Sf-RNase. Expression analysis of Sf-RNase and SFBf by reverse transcriptase–polymerase chain reaction showed that Sf-RNase transcripts were barely detectable in pistil, whereas SFBf transcripts were accumulated at a similar level to the level that was observed with SFB of other functional SI S haplotypes of almond. We discuss the possible molecular mechanisms of SC observed with the Sf haplotype with special references to the expression of Sf-RNase.

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Thomas M. Gradziel, Robert J. Knight Jr., William Reid, Chad E. Finn, John R. Clark, Eliezer S. Louzada, and Kim E. Hummer