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Stephen J. Stringer, Donna A. Marshall, Blair J. Sampson, and James M. Spiers

A study was conducted at the Mississippi State University Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station (MAFES) McNeil Unit in southern Mississippi to identify promising muscadine grape (Vitis rotundifolia) germplasm for use as parents in the breeding and genetics research program and to develop information on performance for use by growers in the region for cultivar selection decisions. The vineyard was first established in 1992 and was expanded in 1994. Cultivars were evaluated in 2001, 2002, and 2006 for their performance and were found to differ in vigor, resistance to diseases, yield, and fruit quality. Cultivars suitable for winemaking that performed well included Carlos, Doreen, Magnolia, Noble, Regale, Sterling, and Welder. Cultivars intended for the fresh market that produced high yields and high-quality fruit included Alachua, Black Beauty, Darlene, Fry, Ison, Janebell, Nesbit, Polyanna, Sweet Jenny, Summit, and Tara. ‘Dixie’, a multipurpose cultivar, ‘Eudora’, a newly released fresh-market cultivar, and ‘Southern Home’, a multipurpose cultivar with enhanced ornamental value, also performed well at this location.

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Stephen J. Stringer, Donna A. Marshall, James M. Spiers, and Blair J. Sampson

Muscadines are grapes indigenous to the Southeastern United States, and they are highly prized for their unique fruity flavors. Factors including skin color, berry size, skin thickness, flower type, productivity, etc., vary among muscadine grape cultivars, making some cultivars more desirable for fresh market while others are better suited for processing and prodction of juice, jelly, and wine. A muscadine grape research vineyard was established in McNeil, Miss., in 1992 containing 37 named cultivars and numerous breeding lines. Performance of these cultivars was evaluated in 2001–2003 and results of these trials are presented.

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Stephen J. Stringer, Arlen D. Draper, Donna A. Marshall, and James M. Spiers

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Stephen J. Tancred, Aldo G. Zeppa, Mark Cooper, and Joanne K. Stringer

A major objective of the apple (Malus domestica Borkh.) breeding program in Stanthorpe, Australia, is to develop early ripening, high-quality cultivars. The heritability and inheritance of ripening date was investigated. Regression of offspring on midparent harvest dates and estimation of best linear unbiased predictions for parents were used to demonstrate that apple harvest date is highly heritable. Predominantly, additive genetic components of variance are responsible for the variation. Despite the existence of some specific combining ability variance and some non-normal family distributions, the best strategy for a breeder to predict the harvest date of progeny is to calculate the mean harvest date of parents.

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Stephen J. Stringer, Arlen D. Draper, Donna Marshall-Shaw, Blair J. Sampson, and John J. Adamczyk Jr.

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Stephen J. Stringer, James M. Spiers, Donna A. Marshall, and Arlen D. Draper

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Ebrahiem M. Babiker, Stephen J. Stringer, Hamidou F. Sakhanokho, Barbara J. Smith, and James J. Polashock

Species of Botryosphaeria and Neofusicoccum are major pathogens of blueberry worldwide. Accurate identification of these species is essential for developing effective management practices. A multigene sequencing strategy was used to distinguish between six isolates of stem blight pathogens collected from two different regions of the United States. The temperature growth study revealed that the optimal temperature for growth of five of the tested isolates ranged from 25 to 30 °C, although no significant difference was detected for the growth of Neofusicoccum spp. isolate SD16-86 at 20, 25, 30, and 35 °C. In vitro fungicide assays showed four fungicides, cyprodinil + fludioxonil, propiconazole, pyraclostrobin + boscalid, and azoxystrobin, were effective against the tested isolates with isolate SD16-86 being less sensitive compared with the other isolates. In a detached stem assay, none of 39 blueberry accessions displayed immunity or a high level of resistance to the two tested isolates, and no significant difference in lesion length was detected among the seven tested Vaccinium species inoculated with the two isolates.

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Shanshan Cao, Stephen Stringer, Gunawati Gunawan, Cecilia McGregor, and Patrick J. Conner

Muscadine grape (Vitis rotundifolia) is the first native North American grape to be domesticated. During the past century, breeding programs have created a large collection of muscadine cultivars. Muscadine cultivars are usually identified by evaluating morphological traits and checking breeding records, which can be ambiguous and unauthentic. During this study, simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers were used to generate DNA fingerprinting profiles to identify muscadine cultivars and verify their reported pedigrees. Eighty-nine Vitis accessions were genotyped using 20 SSRs from 13 linkage groups. From these, 81 unique subgenus Muscadinia accessions were identified, and a core set of five SSR markers was able to distinguish all of them. Eighteen misidentifications were found, and five previously unknown accessions were matched with cultivars in the dataset. The profiles of 12 cultivars were not consistent with their reported parentage–progeny relationships. Genetic diversity was analyzed at four levels: all V. rotundifolia cultivars (N = 67); current cultivars (N = 39); historical cultivars (N = 28); and wild V. rotundifolia accessions (N = 9). There was substantial genetic diversity in both wild and historically cultivated muscadines. The principle coordinate analysis (PCoA) showed clear separation among subgenus Vitis cultivars, wild muscadine accessions, and cultivated muscadines, with PCoA1 and PCoA2 explaining 11.0% and 9.3% of the total variation, respectively.

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Stephen J. Stringer, Donna A. Shaw, Blair J. Sampson, Hamidou F. Sakhanoko, Ebrahiem Babiker, John J. Adamczyk Jr., Mark K. Ehlenfeldt, and Arlen D. Draper