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Marvin Pritts and James Luby

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Chad E. Finn and James J. Luby

Progenies from a partial diallel mating scheme using 17 highbush (Vaccinium corymbosum L.), lowbush (V. angustifolium Ait.), and half-high (V. corymbosum/V. angustfolium hybrid) parents were subjectively evaluated for fruit color, picking scar, and firmness in two seasons. General combining ability (GCA) mean squares were significant (P ≤ 0.01 for all traits), but specific combining ability was significant for no traits (P > 0.05). However, the correlation coefficients between the GCA effects and the parental phenotype scores were low, indicating that selection of parents within this material based on their phenotype may not be indicative of progeny performance. GCA effects depended to some extent on the species ancestry. Vaccinium angustifolium parents produced progeny with relatively dark, soft fruit with large scars. Lowbush parents having light-blue fruit produced segregating progenies that were heavily skewed toward dark fruit, regardless of the color or species ancestry of the other parent. When the highbush and half-high parents were crossed with one another, segregation patterns were typical of predominately additive gene action.

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James J. Luby and Douglas V. Shaw

Breeders of horticultural food crops are usually concerned with multiple traits related to yield and quality as well as other traits such as biotic and abiotic stresses. Yield in these crops is not solely tonnage of biomass produced in the field. Rather, it is the proportion of the crop that can be harvested and brought to market in a condition and at a price acceptable to the consumer. Quality may include flavor, color, shape, size, degree of damage, nutrient levels, and traits that permit greater perceived food safety or environmental sustainability. Some traits may exhibit phenotypic associations. Traits with unfavorable associations will be of concern to the breeder if the cause is unfavorably correlated genetic effects, especially those resulting from pleiotropy. Several multiple trait selection schemes have been developed, including independent culling levels, tandem selection, and index selection. These schemes can result in improvement even for traits with unfavorable associations. However, the breeder must have a strong rationale for each trait addressed in a breeding program because each additional trait necessitates larger breeding populations and more resources. Thus, the breeder's first challenge for each crop is to determine which traits are most important and which issues are most amenable to a breeding solution.

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Matthew Clark, Peter Hemstad, and James Luby

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Steven J. McKay, James M. Bradeen, and James J. Luby

The commercially successful apple (Malus pumila Mill.) cultivar Honeycrisp is known for its high degrees of crispness and juiciness. This cultivar has been incorporated into numerous breeding programs in an effort to duplicate its desirable texture traits in conjunction with such other traits as reduced postharvest disorders, disease resistance, and improved tree vigor. This study characterizes variability and estimates heritability for several apple fruit texture traits within a large breeding population over several years. Five full-sib families, all sharing ‘Honeycrisp’ as a common parent, were assayed with respect to crispness, firmness, and juiciness using sensory evaluation panels and total work required to fracture tissue using instrumental methods. The incomplete block design of the sensory panels, coupled with best linear unbiased prediction, facilitated the evaluation of a large number of genotypes with small numbers of fruit per genotype while accounting for individual sensory panelist effects. Broad-sense heritability estimates exceeded 0.70 for all four traits. Principal component analysis, applied to the phenotypic data, characterized ‘Honeycrisp’ as having average crispness and low firmness (53rd percentile relative to its offspring) but also as being a relatively extreme example of high juiciness and low work to fracture (first percentile). The improved characterization of desired fruit texture phenotypes and the high levels of broad-sense heritability provide valuable tools for the further development of new, high-quality apple cultivars.

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Mary Ann Start, James Luby, Robert Guthrie, and Debby Filler

The hardy Actinidia species represent a source of genetic diversity for improving A. deliciosa (kiwifruit) as well as for creating new economically important cultivars through intra- and interspecific crosses. Attempts at breeding in Actinidia have been complicated by the existence of intraspecific as well as interspecific variation in ploidy. The haploid chromosome number in Actinidia is 29 and diploid (2n=2x=58), tetraploid (2n=4x=116), and hexaploid (2n=6x=174) levels have been identified. Because of the problems encountered when crossing parents differing in ploidy level, it is desirable to know the ploidy levels of plants to be used in breeding. We determined the ploidy levels of 61 Actinidia accessions currently available in the U.S., including primarily accessions of relatively winter-hardy species. The 61 accessions, representing eight species and three interspecific hybrids, were screened for ploidy using flow cytometry. Mitotic root tip cells from one plant from each putative ploidy level were examined microscopically to confirm the ploidy level derived from flow cytometry. There were 17 diploids, 40 tetraploids, and 4 hexaploids. Intraspecific variation was not found among accessions of the species arguta, callosa, deliciosa, kolomikta, melanandra, polygama, or purpurea. All kolomikta and polygama accessions were diploid. All arguta, callosa, melanandra, and purpurea accessions were tetraploid. Actinidia deliciosa was hexaploid. One chinensis accession was tetraploid. Two accessions (NGPR 0021.14 and 0021.3), acquired as chinensis, were hexaploid and may, in fact, be A. deliciosa based on their morphology. `Issai' (arguta × polygama) was hexaploid and `Ken's Red' and `Red Princess' (both melanandra × arguta) were tetraploid.

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Chad E. Finn, Carl J. Rosen, and James J. Luby

Root sections of cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon Ait. cv. Searles) were microscopically examined to document the typical anatomy of cranberry roots and changes in root anatomy in response to N-form and solution pH. Cranberry cuttings were rooted, then established in hydroponic conditions with three N and two pH regimes. The three N regimes with equal N levels were 1) NH4-N alone, 2) NH4/NO3-N in combination, or 3) NO3-N alone. pH was maintained at 4.5 or 6.5. Root apical regions were examined using phase contrast, bright field, and epifluorescence microscopy. The cranberry root tip develops with a closed apical organization with the tetrarchal vascular cylinder, cortex, and root cap traceable to independent meristem cell layers. The most obvious treatment difference was an accumulation of unidentified “granules” in the subepidermal layer, readily visible with epifluorescence microscopy with NO3-N alone. Roots produced at pH 4.5 branched less than those at 6.5 and had more “quiescent” root initials; at pH 6.5, these developed more frequently into branch roots.