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Bob Bors and J. Alan Sullivan

Fragaria vesca has been introgressed into F. ×ananassa in the form of decaploids and synthetic octoploids. As F. vesca is self-incompatible and crosses with most diploid Fragaria species when used as a female parent, it could serve as a bridge for introgression of additional genetic material. A primary goal of this study was to screen selections of F. vesca for interspecific crossability among diploid species. The F. vesca collection included 10 cultivars of the alpine strawberry, F. vesca var. semperflorens, as well as 30 wild runnering types gathered from around the world. The following diploid species were represented by one to three genotypes each: F. viridis, F. nubicola, F. nipponica, F. nilgerens, F. iinumae, F. daltoniana, F. gracilis, as well as two unnamed species from China. Fragaria vesca was used as the female parent and the other species provided the pollen. Crossing took place in the greenhouse, with one pollination occurring during the “popcorn” or “balloon” stage. Germination was performed in vitro using cut achenes shortly after fruit ripening. The alpine strawberry cultivars were easier to cross than wild selections of F. vesca. Their continuous blooming habit combined with higher positioning of flowers allowed for easier and perhaps less-damaging emasculation. Crossability, as measured by seed set and germination, was more variable in wild-type F. vesca and generally lower than alpine strawberry cultivars.

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Vance Baird

Prunus, which includes peach/nectarine, almond, apricot, cherry, and plum, is a large and economically important genus in the family Rosaceae. The size and long generation time of these tree crops have hampered improvement through classical breeding and long-term selection programs. With the advent of DNA-based molecular diagnostics, an exciting era in germplasm improvement has dawned. Efforts are underway, notably in the United States (e.g., California, Michigan, North Carolina, and South Carolina) and the European Community (e.g., England, France, Italy, and Spain), to apply the tools of molecular mapping and marker-assisted selection to this important genus. The objective of these projects is to develop molecular linkage maps of sufficient marker density to tag phenotypic trait loci of agronomic importance. These include traits controlled by single genes (e.g., flower color, compatibility, flesh color, pest resistance), as well as more-complex, quantitative traits (e.g., cold hardiness, tree architecture, sugar content). An immediate outcome of these mapping efforts has been the development of DNA “fingerprints,” allowing for the discrimination of cultivars—both scion and rootstock. The maps will be used by breeders and molecular biologists to monitor gene introgression from wild species into elite lines, for marker-assisted selection of desired trait combinations, and for map-based cloning of specific genes. The molecular markers used in these mapping projects include RFLPs, RAPDs, and microsatellites. Each has their appropriate applications and advantages depending upon the resources at hand and the project's specific goals.

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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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Pedro Revilla and W.F. Tracy

Sweet corn is one of the most important vegetable crops in the United States, however the morphology and phylogeny of open-pollinated sweet corn cultivars has not been studied. Fifty eight open-pollinated sweet corn cultivars were characterized with thirty-four descriptors to provide information for breeders interested in broadening the genetic base of sweet corn. Principal component analysis and cluster analysis were performed to classify sweet corn cultivars based on morphology. Also, relationships among morphological variables in this set of cultivars were determined. The general ordination of cultivars followed an axis representing earliness, and plant, leaf, and tassel size, while ear and kernel attributes were less variable. The morphological variability among all of the widely used sweet corn cultivars, except `Country Gentleman', was not greater than the variability found among the `Golden Bantam' strains. Based on morphology, 52 of the cultivars could be considered as one race, which we propose be called `Northeastern Sweets'. These may be a subset of the race `Northern Flint'. Five of the remaining cultivars are from the north-central or southwestern United States and may represent races from those areas. The sixth cultivar is `Country Gentleman', a commercially important sweet corn cultivar. Due to the importance of `Country Gentleman' and the introgression of nonsweet germplasm into modern sweet corn, we believe that sweet corn should be defined based on its use as a vegetable and on the presence of one or more genes that increase sugar levels in the endosperm.

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Xinwang Wang, Phillip A. Wadl, Cecil Pounders, Robert N. Trigiano, Raul I. Cabrera, Brian E. Scheffler, Margaret Pooler, and Timothy A. Rinehart

Genetic diversity was estimated for 51 Lagerstroemia indica L. cultivars, five Lagerstroemia fauriei Koehne cultivars, and 37 interspecific hybrids using 78 simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers. SSR loci were highly variable among the cultivars, detecting an average of 6.6 alleles (amplicons) per locus. Each locus detected 13.6 genotypes on average. Cluster analysis identified three main groups that consisted of individual cultivars from L. indica, L. fauriei, and their interspecific hybrids. However, only 18.1% of the overall variation was the result of differences between these groups, which may be attributable to pedigree-based breeding strategies that use current cultivars as parents for future selections. Clustering within each group generally reflected breeding pedigrees but was not supported by bootstrap replicates. Low statistical support was likely the result of low genetic diversity estimates, which indicated that only 25.5% of the total allele size variation was attributable to differences between the species L. indica and L. fauriei. Most allele size variation, or 74.5%, was common to L. indica and L. fauriei. Thus, introgression of other Lagestroemia species such as Lagestroemia limii Merr. (L. chekiangensis Cheng), Lagestroemia speciosa (L.) Pers., and Lagestroemia subcostata Koehne may significantly expand crapemyrtle breeding programs. This study verified relationships between existing cultivars and identified potentially untapped sources of germplasm.

Open access

Myounghai Kwak, Jeong-Ki Hong, Eun Sil Lee, Byoung Yoon Lee, Min Hwan Suh, and Bert Cregg

Korean fir (Abies koreana) has been cultivated for less than 100 years, mainly in the United States and Europe. Using nuclear microsatellite, mitochondrial, and chloroplast markers, we investigated the origin of cultivated korean fir from South Korea (KC group) as well as the United States and United Kingdom (EU group), and compared these samples to published data from wild populations. All genotypes in the EU and KC groups were most closely related to the wild individuals from Mt. Hallasan, the southernmost A. koreana population on Jejudo Island (South Korea). However, the presence of the chloroplast haplotypes clustered with Abies balsamea in two EU cultivars and the higher diversity values of the EU group compared with the wild individuals from Mt. Hallasan infer a certain level of introgression from different species during cultivation. The EU group had a higher inbreeding coefficient and linkage disequilibrium, and a smaller proportion of rare alleles, than the wild populations. This suggests that the genetic characteristics of korean fir cultivars reflect strong artificial selection pressure for desirable horticultural traits and asexual reproduction. Last, this genetic background study suggests that the other wild populations in the Korean peninsula can serve as valuable genetic resources for future breeding.

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Charles R. Brown, David Culley, Meredith Bonierbale, and Walter Amorós

Tubers of 38 native potato cultivars of different taxonomic groups from South America were analyzed to determine the total anthocyanins, total carotenoids, and antioxidant values. Total anthocyanin ranged from zero to 23 mg cyanidin equivalents/100 g fresh weight (FW). Total carotenoid ranged from 38 to 2020 μg zeaxanthin equivalents/100 g FW. Oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) was measured for the anthocyanin (hydrophilic) and carotenoid (lipophilic) extracts. The hydrophilic ORAC ranged from 333 to 1408 μm Trolox equivalents/100 g FW. The lipophilic ORAC ranged from 4.7 to 30 nM α-tocopherol equivalents/100 g FW. The cultivars consisted of 23 diploids, seven triploids, and eight tetraploids. Total carotenoids was negatively correlated with total anthocyanins. Total anthocyanins was correlated with hydrophilic ORAC. Among clones with less than 2 mg cyanidin equivalents/100 g FW, total carotenoid and lipophilic ORAC were correlated, but this was not true for analysis of all 38 clones. Although total anthocyanins or hydrophilic ORAC values reported here were not outside of the ranges found in North American and other breeding materials, total carotenoids and lipophilic ORACs are higher than previously reported, suggesting that native cultivars of South America with high levels of total carotenoids and high lipophilic ORAC are a unique germplasm source for introgression of these traits into specific potato cultivars outside the center of origin.

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P. Martínez-Gómez, M. Rubio, F. Dicenta, and T.M. Gradziel

Sharka [(plum pox virus (PPV)] mainly affects Prunus species, including apricot (Prunus armeniaca L.), peach (Prunus persica L.), plum (Prunus salicina Lindl., Prunus domestica L.), and, to a lesser degree, sweet (Prunus avium L.) and sour cherry (Prunus cerasus L.). Level of resistance to a Dideron isolate of PPV in seven California almond [P. dulcis (Miller) D.A. Webb], five processing peach cultivars, and two peach rootstocks was evaluated. In addition, almond and peach selections resulting from interspecific almond × peach hybridization and subsequent gene introgression were tested. Evaluations were conducted in controlled facilities after grafting the test genotypes onto inoculated GF305 peach rootstocks. Leaves were evaluated for PPV symptoms during three consecutive cycles of growth. ELISA-DASI and RT-PCR analysis were also employed to verify the presence or absence of PPV. Peach cultivars and rootstocks showed sharka symptoms and were ELISA-DASI or RT-PCR positive for some growth cycles, indicating their susceptibility to PPV. Almond cultivars and almond × peach hybrids did not show symptoms and were ELISA-DASI and RT-PCR negative, demonstrating resistance to PPV. Two (almond × peach) F2 selections as well as two of three backcrossed peach selections also showed a resistant behavior against the PPV-D isolate. Results demonstrate a high level of resistance in almond and indicate potential for PPV resistance transfer to commercial peach cultivars.

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Bruce L. Dunn and Jon T. Lindstrom

A protocol for producing fertile tetraploid forms of the hybrid Buddleja madagascarensis Lam. × B. crispa Benth. would enable introgression of orange flower, pubescence, and nondehiscent fruit characteristics found in section Nicodemia (Tenore) Leeuw. into B. davidii Franchet section Buddleja. Excised nodal sections of a single sterile diploid selection from that cross were treated in vitro with 3, 5, or 7 μm oryzalin concentrations for 1, 2, or 3 days or were left as an untreated control. A population of plants was generated from these cultures and transferred to the greenhouse. Treated plants were initially screened phenotypically for higher ploidy levels on the basis of stem thickness and leaf size. Those selected based on polyploidy characteristics were subjected to cytometric analysis, confirming that six tetraploid plants were generated. Nodal survival rates were dependent on oryzalin concentration and treatment duration. Significant increases in fertility accompanied polyploidy induction, because crosses between the newly developed tetraploids and B. davidii cultivars produced viable fertile plants. Chemical name used: 3,5-dinitro-N 4,N 4-dipropylsulfanilamide (oryzalin).

Open access

Saki Toshima, Marika Fujii, Momoko Hidaka, Soya Nakagawa, Tomonari Hirano, and Hisato Kunitak

Interspecific hybridization is useful in raspberry (Rubus idaeus L. ssp. idaeus) breeding to introgression of traits such as heat or cold tolerance, and excellent fruit qualities. Rubus L. wild species in Asia, including Rubus parvifolius L., have been attracting a great deal of attention as sources of new traits in breeding raspberry and blackberry (Rubus fruticosus Agg.). We previously developed and selected IPI-1 and IPI-3 first backcross (BC1) hybrids, [‘Indian Summer’ (R. idaeus ssp. idaeus) × R. parvifolius] × ‘Indian Summer’, as raspberry cultivars adapted to the warm climate in parts of Japan. In this study, we investigated the growth, morphological traits, and fruit qualities, such as sugar, organic acid, anthocyanins, and carotenoids, of each of these IPI lines over a 2-year period to discern their potential as commercial raspberry cultivars. IPI lines had the characteristic of primocane fruit with overflowing from side buds while the parent, IP-1 (‘Indian Summer’ × R. parvifolius), did not. IPI lines showed significantly lower values in anthocyanin content than red raspberry ‘Skeena’, while showing higher carotenoid contents. This study is the first research about fruit qualities such as anthocyanin and carotenoid content of BC1 hybrids using Japanese wild Rubus species.