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K.S. Mayberry, J.A. Principe, and W.L. Schrader

The artichoke, Cynara scolymus, is normally propagated by cuttings from mother plants; however, it is possible to produce some types of artichokes from seed. Methods used for producing open-pollinated seed of onion and carrots may be suitable for producing artichoke seed. Outcrossing in artichokes occurs because of differences in maturity of the staminate and pistillate phases within flowers. Producing artichoke seed by simple inbreeding techniques is usually not successful because of vigor loss and low pollen production, low seed production, and late maturity of progeny. Outcrossing is the preferred method of creating a new variety. The cultivar `Imperial Star' was developed by crossing a thornless French line with an Italian line that had sharp woody spines, and a uniform, olive-green color. The French line was a bright green with some light purple at the base of the bracks. The F1 generation from this cross had good hybrid vigor, and produced abundant seed and pollen. The F2 generation segregated widely with many recombinant types that neither parent showed (e.g., extreme thorniness of leaves and petioles). Two plants were selected for sibling pollination. Subsequent generations of siblings within this type produced higher percentages of the desired type—glossiness, earliness, and high seed yield. Subsequent sibling crossing led to the selection of `Imperial Star', PVP. 9000179.

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David Tay*

In plant germplasm conservation, “orthodox” seed (i.e. seed that survives drying down to low moisture content) is the most suitable propagule for long-term storage. In general, high quality seeds of around 5% seed moisture content can be stored for 5-15 years at 2°C and 15-50 years at -18°C. Globally, there are some 1,300 genebanks and 6.1 million accessions of food and industrial crops in conservation. When collecting and conserving plant germplasm, seed science and technology have to be applied during germplasm collection; seed regeneration-germination, seedling establishment, flower synchronization, pollination, harvesting, drying, processing and packaging; seed storage and conservation; characterization and evaluation; and finally, distribution. Some of the seed science knowledge and technology skills encompass seed sampling strategy, sample size, seed health, germination and vigor testing, dormancy breaking, scarification, stratification, vernalization, photoperiod treatment, isolation and pollination techniques, harvesting, threshing, drying, hermetic packaging, storage facility design, etc. The goal is to produce seed lots that fulfill the required genetic, physical, physiological and health quality. A summary was presented to relate germplasm conservation activities to seed science and technology. Some of the seed production, processing and testing equipment used were highlighted. Seed research in germplasm conservation is therefore crucial to streamline the operation and management of a genebank to make it more cost effective and attractive for funding.

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S. Wolf, Y. Lensky, and N. Paldi

Fruit and seed set in insect-pollinated agricultural crops rely primarily on honeybees because of their ease of management and transportation. In many fruit and vegetable crops, the number of bee visitations can be the limiting step in obtaining optimal yield. Increasing the attractiveness of flowers to honeybees could, therefore, provide a useful means of improving fruit yield and seed production. Genetic variability in attractiveness to honeybees was found within the genus Citrullus. The number of daily visits per flower ranged from six to 12 among cultivars. Moreover, most of the visits to the more attractive cultivars occurred in the first hour of bee activity, whereas visits to the less attractive cultivars started later in the morning. A positive relationship was found between the frequency of bee visitations and seed number per fruit. Analyses of floral attributes indicated no genetic variability in flower size, amount of pollen grains, or nectar volume; however, differences were observed in the concentration of sucrose and total sugars in the nectar. A positive relationship was found between attractiveness to bees and nectar sugar concentration, suggesting that this characteristic is one of the parameters responsible for variability in attractiveness to honeybees.

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Sylvia Letícia Oliveira Silva, Renato de Mello Prado, Gilmara Pereira da Silva, Gabriel Barbosa da Silva Júnior, Monica Lanzoni Rossi, and Leónides Castellanos González

This study aimed to evaluate the effects of boron (B) omission on cowpea nutrition and to compare the impact of foliar B fertilization with and without sorbitol on cowpea growth, nutritional status, and B uptake. Two trials using a completely randomized experimental design were conducted. During the first experiment, nutrient solution was provided without B (−B) and with B (+B) in 10 replicates. During the second experiment, a 5 × 2 factorial treatment scheme was used. Five B concentrations (0, 1.25, 2.5, 3.75, and 5.0 g·L−1) were administered foliarly in the form of boric acid with or without sorbitol (500 mmol·L−1) in four replicates. B omission symptoms, root growth, plant organ dry mass and B content, and grain yield were evaluated. B omission induced greater losses in reproductive organ and root growth than in leaf and stem production. It also caused deformation of the middle lamella and accumulation of starch in the chloroplasts. Foliar applications of 2.6 to 2.9 g·L−1 B improved cowpea production. The addition of sorbitol did not enhance plant growth. However, it increased B absorption in the vegetative parts of the plant but did not enhance seed production.

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Gregory E. Welbaum

Seed production in the family Cucurbitaceae is more complicated than in dry-seeded grain crops because seeds mature within a moist fruit and are often held at high moisture content for several weeks before seed harvest. Muskmelon (Cucumis melo L.), a member of this family, was used as a model system to contrast seed development with crops that are dry at maturity. A detailed time course for `Top Mark' fruit and seed development is presented based on previous studies. In muskmelon fruit, precocious germination is inhibited osmotically by the low water potential of the surrounding fruit tissue. Muskmelon seeds exhibit primary dormancy that affects viability very early in development but has a greater effect on seed vigor and is removed by afterripening during dry storage. Osmotically distended or fish-mouth seeds are dead seeds that occur in cucurbit seed lots after aging kills the embryo without disrupting the semipermeable endosperm that completely surrounds and protects the embryo. Cucurbit seed crops should be harvested before the onset of fruit senescence to prevent aging of the seeds inside. Open-pollinated cucurbit seed crops are frequently once-over mechanically harvested. Mechanical harvesting combines seeds from many stages of development into a single seed lot, which may adversely affect quality and increase seed to seed variability. Hand harvesting cucurbit fruit at the optimal stage of development could improve seed quality in some instances but is more costly and time consuming and would increase production costs.

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Neil O. Anderson, Peter D. Ascher, Richard E. Widmer, and James J. Luby

The generation time (0.75 to 1.5 years) in perennial, hexaploid chrysanthemums [Dendranthema grandiflora Tzvelv. (Chrysanthemum morifolium Ramat.)] impedes the rate of progress for sexual breeding programs in creating new clonal cultivars, inbred lines for hybrid seed production, and genetic studies. Modifications to the crossing environment and embryo rescue were evaluated to minimize the chrysanthemum generation cycle. One greenhouse chrysanthemum clone was outcross-pollinated using a bulk pollen source. Following emasculation, inflorescences were either left in situ or the peduncle bases were placed in styrofoam boards floating on a solution of 1% sucrose and 200 ppm 8-HQC under laboratory conditions. Embryogenesis occurred at a faster rate under laboratory conditions as tested with histological techniques; the heart stage appeared as early as the second day after pollination, compared with 11 days using in situ methods. Total embryogenic development time ranged from 25 (laboratory seed development) to 52+ days (in situ ripening). In a second test, embryo rescue (ER) significantly improved percent seed set, percent germination, and percent of progeny reaching anthesis relative to normal development. ER progeny from both garden parents were significantly earlier in total generation time than corresponding non-ER siblings. Laboratory seed development and ER were then used sequentially to obtain an average progeny generation time of =100 days, thus allowing for three generations per year. The potential impact of these two techniques on breeding chrysanthemums and other perennial crops with long generation times is discussed.

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Richard T. Olsen, Thomas G. Ranney, and Dennis J. Werner

Inheritance of two mutant foliage types, variegated and purple, was investigated for diploid, triploid, and tetraploid tutsan (Hypericum androsaemum). The fertility of progeny was evaluated by pollen viability tests and reciprocal crosses with diploids, triploids, and tetraploids and germinative capacity of seeds from successful crosses. Segregation ratios were determined for diploid crosses in reciprocal di-hybrid F1, F2, BCP1, and BCP2 families and selfed F2s with the parental phenotypes. F2 tetraploids were derived from induced autotetraploid F1s. Triploid segregation ratios were determined for crosses between tetraploid F2s and diploid F1s. Diploid di-hybrid crosses fit the expected 9: 3: 3: 1 ratio for a single, simple recessive gene for both traits, with no evidence of linkage. A novel phenotype representing a combination of parental phenotypes was recovered. Data from backcrosses and selfing support the recessive model. Both traits behaved as expected at the triploid level; however, at the tetraploid level the number of variegated progeny increased, with segregation ratios falling between random chromosome and random chromatid assortment models. We propose the gene symbol var (variegated) and pl (purple leaf) for the variegated and purple genes, respectively. Triploid pollen stained moderately well (41%), but pollen germination was low (6%). Triploid plants were highly infertile, demonstrating extremely low male fertility and no measurable female fertility (no viable seed production). The present research demonstrates the feasibility of breeding simultaneously for ornamental traits and non-invasiveness.

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Eduardo Villanueva-Mosqueda and Michael. J. Havey

Development of two-way onion (Allium cepa L.) hybrids is difficult due to poor seed yields on inbred female parents. Seed yield of onion is affected by inbreeding depression and the seed-production environment. A standard diallel was used to estimate combining abilities for seed yield among seven inbred onion lines. Males and hybrids differed significantly (P < 0.05) for seed yields. Combinations of relatively high-by-high seed-yielding inbred parents were not always the best combinations; combinations of medium-by-medium or medium-by-high seed yielders also produced good F1 seed yielders. For the seven inbred lines, significant correlations (P < 0.05) were observed between mean seed yield per bulb and scape height. Parent-offspring regressions revealed no significant relationship between seed yields of randomly selected, open-pollinated bulbs and their S1 families. Results indicate that relative seed yields of individual bulbs after self-pollination cannot be used to predict seed yields of progeny families. However, the seed yield of inbred lines of onion may reflect the potential seed yield of F1 male-sterile lines.

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R.A. Malvar, P. Revilla, P. Velasco, M.E. Cartea, and A. Ordás

The pink stem borer (PSB) (Sesamia nonagrioides Lefebvre) and the European corn borer (ECB) (Ostrinia nubilalis Hübner) are the major insect pests of corn (Zea mays L.) in Mediterranean countries, although larvae of other insects can also cause damage. The objective of this research was to evaluate the effect of sweet corn hybrids, planting time, and environment on damage by various insects. Data were recorded on the number of larvae of each of the aforementioned pests and damage produced in the ear 20 days after pollination and in the ear and stem when plants were dry. PSB was the most abundant pest, followed by ECB. Other insects, such as Mythimna unipuncta (Haworth) and Helicoverpa armigera (Hübner) were rarely found in sweet corn plants. ECB was constant over time, PSB had larger seasonal variation, and M. unipuncta and H. armigera were highly variable over time. There were significant differences among planting dates and growing cycles for damage traits in each environment. Interactions among hybrids, planting dates, and environments were significant. Dry ears were damaged more than fresh ears and stems had more larvae than ears. The economic value of the crop was seriously affected because most fresh ears had some damage, and seed production would be severely affected by PSB.

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Bassam Al-Safadi and Philipp W. Simon

Carrot tissue cultures, germinating seed, and dry seed were exposed to gamma radiation. Irradiation accelerated germination of carrot seed in the M1 generation at low doses (0.5 and 1 krad), whereas higher doses delayed germination. A high negative correlation was observed between dose and survival of plants after seed irradiation. Plant size and root weight were 20 % to 35% greater than control plants after seeds, but not tissue cultures, were exposed to low doses of gamma irradiation. Higher doses reduced M1 plant size by >50% in germinating seed and tissue culture treatments but less for the dry seed treatment. Seed production decreased while phenotypic variation of M1 plants increased with increasing gamma ray dosage. Root weight and total dissolved solids were highly variable in M2 families. Less variation was observed in total carotene content and none was seen in sugar type (reducing vs. nonreducing sugars). Induced variation in root color and root shape was also observed. Irradiation of germinating seed and tissue cultures yielded more M2 variation than irradiation of dry seed. Putative point mutations were not observed. Unirradiated carrot tissue cultures did not yield significant M2 somaclonal variation. Average root weight of M2 plants increased with increasing gamma ray dosage, especially for the dry seed treatment.