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Iwan F. Labuschagné, J.H. Louw, Karin Schmidt, and Annalene Sadie

Genetic variation in chilling requirement was investigated over three growth periods using clonal progenies of six apple [Malus sylvestris (L.) Mill. var. domestica (Borkh.) Mansf.] families derived from crosses of high and low chill requiring cultivars. Two quantitative measurements related to chilling requirement, viz., the time of initial budbreak (vegetative and reproductive) and the number of breaking buds over a specified time interval, were used as evaluation criteria. Genetic and environmental variances of the traits are presented as intra-class correlation coefficients for clones within and between families. For budbreak time, reproductive and vegetative, broad-sense heritability averaged around 75% and 69% respectively, indicating a high degree of genetic determination in this material. For budbreak number, moderate to low genetic determination was found with broad-sense heritabilities around 30%. Estimates of genetic components of variance between families were generally very low in comparison to the variance within families and predict potentially favorable responses to truncation selection on the traits within these progeny groups. Analysis of the data showed that distribution of budbreak time is typical of quantitative traits with means distributed closely around midparent values. Skewed distributions towards low budbreak number were obtained in varying degrees in all families.

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John M. Rariden and Douglas V. Shaw

Runner plants from 16 strawberry (Fragaria ×ananassa Duch.) cultivars were grown using annual Mediterranean production systems to test for differences in productivity, performance traits, and vegetative growth attributes. Genotypes were included from germplasm adapted to four geographic regions: California and northwestern, northeastern, and mid-Atlantic or southeastern United States. The California genotypes were divided further into day-neutral and June-bearing categories. With these treatments, California cultivars had significantly larger plants and grew more rapidly during the fall and winter, had larger fruit, and produced at least twice the quantity of fruit of cultivars from the other regions. Variance components due to region explained 64% and 26% of the phenotypic variance for early and total yield, respectively, whereas differences among cultivars within regions explained 12% and 7% of the variance for these traits. Cultivars from all regions had significantly larger plants and were more productive when treated with 3 weeks of artificial vernalization. However, region × vernalization effects were nonsignificant for all traits, a result suggesting that selection in Mediterranean environments has not adapted germplasm specifically for low vernalization conditions.

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Douglas V. Shaw and Kirk D. Larson

Performance characteristics for eighteen strawberry cultivars (Fragaria ×ananassa), nine from California and nine from other North American sources, were evaluated in annual hill culture, with and without preplant soil fumigation (2 methyl bromide : 1 chloropicrin, 392 kg·ha-1). Plants grown in nonfumigated soil yielded 57% and 46% of the fruit produced by plants on adjacent fumigated soil for cultivars from California and other North American origins, respectively. Plants in nonfumigated soils also developed fruit with lower berry weight (94% and 95% of fumigated trials) and smaller spring plant diameter (83% and 76%) for California and other sources, respectively. Trait values for exotic cultivars ranged from 39% to 80% of those for California cultivars, and the variance component due to germplasm sources explained 41% to 81% of the phenotypic variance of random effects in the experiment. Conversely, significant germplasm source × fumigation interactions were not detected for any of the growth or performance traits evaluated, and the proportion of variance attributable to these interactions was at most 2% of that due to germplasm source. These results demonstrate that strawberry growth and productivity for California and other North American germplasm sources are increased similarly by fumigation. Despite differing selection history, germplasm developed outside of California contains no obvious genetic diversity useful for developing cultivars specifically adapted to the sublethal effects of organisms in nonfumigated soils.

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Bong-kyoo Kim, Don R. La Bonte, Christopher A. Clark, and Mario I. Buteler

Narrow-sense heritabilities for reaction to chlorotic leaf distortion (CLD), incited by Fusarium lateritium Nees: Fr., were estimated in sweetpotato [Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam] by variance component analysis and parent–offspring regression. Visually rated severity reactions to CLD varied greatly among the 20 parents used to generate half-sib progeny from open-pollinated nurseries in 1990 and 1991. Progeny from each nursery were evaluated along with parents in a completely randomized design in two consecutive years. Narrow-sense heritability (h 2) estimates based on variance components were moderate on an entry mean basis at 0.61 in 1990, 0.38 in 1991, and 0.33 for the two years combined. Slightly higher, but still moderate, estimates were obtained on an individual plant basis. Narrow-sense heritability estimates using parent–offspring regression were 0.35 in 1990, 0.33 in 1991, and 0.33 for the two years combined. Predicted next-generation response was highest using a half-sib family recurrent selection among three schemes compared at a 10% selection intensity. Our data indicate –0.63 improvement in the half-sib family CLD severity rating in one breeding cycle.

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W.A. Erb, A.D. Draper, and H.J. Swartz

Interspecific blueberry (Vaccinium spp.) progenies were examined to determine combining abilities and genetic variability for seedling root system size and shoot vigor and to establish whether a large root system is correlated with good growth when plants are grown on a mineral soil and exposed to a moderate soil water deficit. General combining ability (GCA) variance components for root system size and shoot vigor and specific combining ability variance components for shoot vigor were significant. US226, a tetraploid hybrid of V. myrtilloides Michaux × V. atrococcum Heller, had the highest GCA effect for root system size and the lowest GCA effect for shoot vigor. US75 (V. darrowi Camp × V. corymbosum L.) had the highest GCA effect for shoot vigor and was second in GCA effect for root system size. Comparison of the crosses containing G111 (V. corymbosum) with those containing G362 (V. corymbosum) indicates that selecting for the best V. corymbosum clone to start a breeding program seems as important as selecting the mineral soil-adapted parent. Root system ratings were highly correlated with total dry weight of field-grown plants (r = 0.89). The method used in this study to evaluate seedlings for root system size and shoot vigor could be used to eliminate the less vigorous plants from a population before field planting and to evaluate mineral soil adaptability.

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John McCallum, Gail Timmerman-Vaughan, Tonya Frew, and Adrian Russell

Developmental, environmental, and genetic factors affecting seed color were studied in the progeny of a cross between two white-flowered (aa) green cotyledon (ii) field peas (Pisum sativum L.): the pale large-seeded Marrowfat cultivar Primo and the greener small-seeded Prussian Blue OSU442-15. Changes in chlorophyll and carotenoid content during seed development of the parental genotypes were determined by high performance liquid chromatography analysis. Both cultivars accumulated similar pigment quantities per seed, but pigment loss was greater during maturation of `Primo'. Bleached and unbleached mature seed tissues also were compared for pigment composition. Lutein was the predominant pigment in bleached cotyledons of both cultivars. Only trace amounts of pheophytins were detected in unbleached seed. In both genotypes, chlorophyll A : B ratios were ≈1:1 in seed coats compared to 3:1 in cotyledons. Objective measurements of seed color in terms of luminance (lightness) and chrominance (hue and saturation) were made in YUV color space by video image analysis. Inheritance of seed color was studied in an F2 population derived from the `Primo' × `OSU442-15' cross and inbred descendants. Quantitative trait loci (QTL) for seed color were localized by interval mapping using a linkage map of 199 molecular markers spanning most of the genome and by bulked segregant analysis and selective genotyping. Four genomic regions affecting seed color were detected. A major gene accounting for 61% of the phenotypic variance in seed lightness (Y luminance component) was identified on linkage group V linked to r locus. Another major gene, which accounted for 56% of the phenotypic variance in seed hue (U chrominance component), was mapped to a linkage group containing group III and IV markers. A QTL with smaller effect on seed hue (U and V chrominance components) was detected on linkage group VII. Support for overdominant allelic interaction for a QTL on linkage group I, adjacent to the legumin locus Lg-J, was obtained by selective genotyping of the seed lightness distributional extremes.

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John R. Stommel, Judith A. Abbott*, David Francis, and Mary J. Camp

Tomato fruit firmness is a key quality component of tomatoes produced for processing applications. Fruit firmness is generally considered a quantitatively inherited trait. Pericarp firmness of modern tomato cultivars is believed to be derived from a fairly narrow genetic background and is the result of the cumulative effort of numerous breeders over many years. Despite inferior phenotypes, wild species contain loci that can substantially increase tomato fruit quality. In the current study, inheritance of fruit firmness in firm and ultra-firm processing tomato germplasm developed from transgressive segregants of interspecific Lycopersicon esculentum × L. hirsutum and intraspecific L. esculentum crosses was characterized. Large-fruited breeding lines that varied in fruit firmness from soft to firm were identified for genetic analyses. A six-parent diallel of these advanced breeding lines was developed for field trials over multiple locations. Fruit firmness in the resulting 36 lines was determined by measuring fruit elastic properties during fruit puncture and compression. Following loading for compression, stress relaxation was recorded for 15 s. A three-parameter model was used to fit the relaxation curves. There was little correlation between firmness (maximum force) and the three relaxation parameters, i.e., firmness measured the elastic component and the relaxation parameters measured the viscous portions of the texture. General and specific combining ability for firmness derived from the respective genetic backgrounds was determined. Genetic variance components for fruit firmness were estimated using a diallel analysis and narrow sense heritability was measured using parent-offspring regression.

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Paul G. Thompson, John C. Schneider, and Boyett Graves

Narrow-sense heritabilities (h2) for sweetpotato weevil (Cylas formicarius elegantulus) resistance were estimated in 2 breeding populations. Population A included clones from US programs with previously reported moderate levels of weevil resistance. Population B included clones of US origin plusplant introductions from 14 countries. Parents and progenies were included in field evaluations with no wild weevils present. Weevils were cultured and applied to each plant. Population A was evaluated for 2 years and population B for 1. The GXE estimate for population A was also used for population B. Heritabilities were estimated by parent offspring regression and variance component analysis. Average h2 for percentage noninjured roots were 0.35 and 0.47 for population A and B, respectively. Intermating highest performing genotypes from both populations should increase h2 by increasing frequencies of resistance genes. A moderate rate of increase in resistance levels should result from selecting and intermating resistant genotypes.

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Durel J. Romaine and Don R. LaBonte

Narrow-sense heritability (h2) estimates for sugars were determined to assess the feasibility of breeding for a sweeter baked sweetpotato. Roots of parents and half-sib progeny were baked (190°C for 75 minutes) 16 weeks after harvest. Sugars from 10 gram root samples were extracted in ethanol for HPLC sugar quantification. Alcohol insoluble solid (AIS) residues (starch) were also measured from the samples. Dry matter was determined on a separate 10-g sample. Narrow-sense heritability estimates based on variance components analysis for AIS and percent dry matter were 0.20 and 0.32, respectively. Estimates for sugar data were 0.05 for sucrose, 0.52 for maltose, and 0.52 for total sugars (fructose, glucose, sucrose and maltose). These heritability estimates for maltose and total sugars imply a breeder could expect a moderate gain in sweetness over several cycles of selection.

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William J. Martin and Dennis P. Stimart

On-plant floret longevity and cutflower postharvest longevity (PHL) of Antirrhinum majus L., snapdragon, were evaluated using inbreds P1 (16 day PHL) and P2 (6 day PHL), F1 (P1 × P2), F2 (F1 self-pollinated), F2 × F2 (among and within PHL categories: long, 17 to 25 days; middle, 9 days; and short, 2 to 3 days), and F3 families (F2 self-pollinated). F2 on-plant floret longevity and PHL correlated to later generation PHL. Prediction of progeny PHL from F2 × F2 matings appears feasible if genotypic value for PHL of F2 is known. Selection for PHL is best based on evaluation of multiple cutflowers per genotype. Significant additive and dominant genetic variance components contribute to PHL.