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R.G. Fjellstrom, D.E. Parfitt, and G.H. McGranahan

1 Present address: U.S. Dept. of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service, National Forage Seed Production Research Center, Corvallis, OR 97331. This research was funded in part by the California Agricultural Experiment Station, the California

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F.J. Sundstrom, P. Guzman, and R.F. Stewart

Pathogen free seed has long played a critical role in reducing or eliminating the severity of various diseases in commercial fields. The California Crop Improvement Association (CCIA) provides quality assurance services to the seed industry that are designed to promote the production, distribution and use of high quality seedstocks for agricultural production. To that end, CCIA has developed a Disease Inspection Program to assist vegetable seed producers in eliminating the bacterium, Acidovorax avenae subsp. citrulli (AAC), from cucurbit (Cucurbitaceae) seedstocks. This program utilizes recommendations and standards beginning at parent seed production of hybrids through the production of commercial seedlots. Training of field personnel, field inspections and tissue tests, followed by growouts of at least 30,000 seedlings are used as components of this quality assurance program.

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J. M. Al-Khayri, F. H. Huang, and T. E. Morelock

Regenerated spinach (Spinacia oleracea L.) maintained under a 10-h photoperiod (65 uE m-2 s-1) after an incubation period on a GA-containing medium were induced to flower in vitro. The plantlets were regenerated from callus initiated on MS medium with 2.0 mg L-1 kinetin and 0.5 mg L-1 2,4-D and were subsequently transferred to a medium containing 2.0 mg L-1 kinetin, 1.0 mg L-1 GA, and 0.01 mg L-1 2-4,D. While on the regeneration medium, the cultures were exposed to a long-day photoperiod. Regenerants were transferred to an IBA-containing medium for rooting, after which flowering was observed. In vitro flowering plantlets exhibited male and female flowers depending on the sex of the explant donor. Female plantlets developed seeds in the culture vessels. This method of seed production from regenerants can eliminate time-consuming steps in acclimation, transplanting to soil, and plant maintenance.

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Erik J. Sacks and Dina A. St. Clair

The influence of cryogenic pollen storage on fruit set and seed production in tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) was investigated. Flowers pollinated with pollen samples stored for 5 weeks at –80C, with or without 20 h precooling at 4C, had similar fruit set and number of viable seed per fruit as those pollinated with fresh pollen. Pollen samples, which were repeatedly cooled (–80C) and warmed (to 22 to 24C) for up to six cycles, continuously maintained the same viability as the fresh pollen. When cryogenically stored pollen of L. esculentum 2-837, LA359, LA3198, and LA3199 were used to pollinate LA359, the number of viable seed formed per fruit differed significantly. Results of this study suggest that pollen cryopreservation can be used successfully for tomato breeding and germplasm storage.

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Scott Reid, Judy Harrington, and Harrison Hughes

Inland saltgrass, Distichlis spicata var. stricta (Torr.) Beetle, is a native western U.S. grass that has potential in turf situations. Elite clones with outstanding potential have been selected. Poor seed production appears to be the main limiting factor for its use as turf in saline conditions. In order to better understand seed set, 40 genotypes were examined for chromosome number and morphology. Chromosome numbers of root tip metaphase spreads varied with the most common being 2n = 38. However, chromosome numbers of 39, 40, 42, and 74 were also observed. Meiotic examination of anthers revealed 19 bivalents for those with 38 chromosomes while those with 42 had 20 bivalents with 2 unpaired chromosomes. The unpaired chromosomes lagged at anaphase. Crosses among genotypes of different chromosome number have resulted in good seed set. Harvested seed are germinable and plants from these crosses are being grown for further studies.

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Kenneth W. Mudge and Chin-Chang Chu

In vitro asymbiotic seed germination, subculture, and outplanting of orchids is presented as a laboratory exercise suitable for students of plant propagation or tissue culture. Dendrobium antennatum (Lindley), Phalaenopsis (Blume) white hybrid, or both, are used in this exercise because they flower predictably in the greenhouse, are reliable for seed production, and germinate and grow rapidly in vitro. The exercises can be used to instruct students in the skills involved in orchid seed sterilization, sowing, and culture, as well as instruct students in the unique features of orchid reproductive biology and symbiosis. A schedule is suggested for stock plant flower pollination, capsule harvest, seed sowing, and seedling subculture so that the necessary plant material is available for students to sow, subculture, and outplant seedlings during a single laboratory session.

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A.A. Abdul-Baki, H.H. Bryan, G.M. Zinati, W. Klassen, M. Codallo, and N. Heckert

Prolific flowering is essential for economic seed production in sunn hemp (Crotalaria juncea L.). Since flowers appear as racimes on the distal portions of secondary branches and since the branching is restricted by a strong apical dominance, lifting the apical dominance by cutting the tops of plants should induce more branches and more flowers per plant. We evaluated this concept in a field experiment conducted in 1999 at the Tropical Research and Education Center, Univ. of Florida, Homestead, by cutting main stems of 100-day-old plants in a dense stand (113,000 plants/ha) at 30, 60, and 90 cm above the soil surface. Cutting at all heights induced more branching and flowering than the control. The highest positive response was in plants in which the main stem was cut at 90 cm above soil surface.

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Bruce M. Pollock

The book, Agricultural Biotechnology: Issues and Choices Information for decision Makers, from USDA and Land Grant Colleges discusses risk evaluation for the use of legislators concerned with public policy. However, that discussion is entirely theoretical. The 1970 epidemic of Southern Corn Leaf Blight caused by the pleiotropic gene for Cytoplasmic Male Sterility provides material to use in real-world risk evaluation for biotechnology. Approximately 1×1012 corn seeds are planted annually in the US. Assuming a mutation rate of 1×10-6, then 1×106 mutations can be expected annually. The poster will evaluate the importance of this number using assumptions based on fold-increase during seed production. Unfortunately, it is not possible to evaluate the risk of incorporating another pleiotropic gene into commercial crops because insufficient data are available on the frequency of pleiotropy.

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Jianhua Zhang and Miller B. McDonald

Varietal identification of cyclamen and petunia is important for flower seed production because these crops are marketed as hybrids and genetic purity determinations assure the purity of the seed lot and the success of hybridization. Random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) banding patterns have been shown to be useful in identifying genotypes of various crops. This molecular biology technique was applied to five commercial cyclamen and six petunia hybrids. Using bulk seed/seedling samples, the varieties could be differentiated. However, when individual seeds of the cyclamen hybrid were tested, differing polymorphisms were observed. These variations were attributed to genetic variability in the inbred parents. We conclude that the genetic purity of cyclamen seeds can be improved and that the use of RAPDs can assist breeders of hybrid flowering crops in better monitoring seed quality.

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Kanti M. Rawal and Keith Redenbaugh

Polygalacturonase (PG) is the principal enzyme responsible for the softening of tomato during ripening. Transformation of tomatoes with antisense PG (asPG) results in significant delay in softening so that fruits with color and flavor can be harvested and shipped from the fields to distant markets. Safety evaluations of the genetically engineered tomato varieties were conducted from two perspectives: a) agricultural, and b) human food. Data were submitted to the appropriate agencies to obtain approvals for commercial production and to seek advisory opinion for the safety of food for human consumption. Calgene Fresh Inc. was created to develop human resources, physical facilities and logistic capabilities for year round supply of high quality branded produce. Vertical integration from seed production to direct consumer marketing is necessary to optimize the business endeavor.