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  • Author or Editor: Mark T. Windham x
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Flowering dogwood (Cornus florida L.) is an important tree of forests and urban landscapes in the eastern United States. Amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) markers were generated from genomic DNA of 17 cultivars and lines, and four duplicate samples of selective cultivars. Specific markers were identified for all except the following two lines and cultivar: MW94-67, MW95-12, and ‘Plena’. A dichotomous cultivar identification key was constructed based on AFLP data, and specific peaks or combinations of peaks were identified for all cultivars and lines. The key was assessed with seven anonymous (unlabeled) dogwood samples, and all unknowns except one were identified using the dichotomous key. Two of the unknown samples, ‘Cherokee Chief’ and ‘Cherokee Brave’, were difficult to distinguish using the AFLP markers. Intracultivar variation, up to 36% dissimilarity, was observed between duplicate samples of the same cultivar from different trees, suggesting that some mislabeling of trees had occurred at the nursery. The cultivar-specific AFLP markers can be used in breeding applications, patent protection, and in future projects, such as mapping the C. florida genome.

Free access

Flowering dogwood (Cornus florida) and kousa dogwood (C. kousa) are popular ornamental species commonly used in the horticultural industry. Both trees are valued for their beautiful floral display and four-season appeal. Species-specific simple sequence repeat (SSR) loci were used to genotype and assess genetic diversity of 24 flowering dogwood cultivars and breeding lines and 22 kousa dogwood cultivars. Genetic diversity was determined by allele sharing distances and principal coordinate analysis and was high in both species. Molecular identification keys were developed for cultivars and breeding lines of each species using a few polymorphic SSRs loci (four in C. florida and five in C. kousa). Most (18 of 24) of the flowering dogwood and all (22 of 22) kousa dogwood accessions could be distinguished from each other using these SSRs; those that could not were resolved using DNA amplification fingerprinting. The reliability of both keys was assessed using five anonymous cultivars for each dogwood species, which were correctly identified using the molecular keys. The genetic information presented here will be useful for identification and verification of cultivars for nurseries and as molecular markers for breeders and researchers.

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The eriophyid mite, Phyllocoptes fructiphilus, vectors the causal agent, Rose rosette virus (RRV), that results in rose rosette disease. Parts of the southeastern United States have remained free of the disease, except for infected plant material introductions that were eradicated. A survey of sampling points through Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi (n = 204) revealed the southeastern border of RRV. The presence of RRV in symptomatic plant tissue samples (n = 39) was confirmed by TaqMan-quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR). Samples were also collected at every plot for detection of eriophyid mites, specifically for P. fructiphilus. Three different species of eriophyid mites were found to be generally distributed throughout Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi. Most of these sites (n = 60) contained P. fructiphilus, found further south than previously thought, but in low populations (<10 mites/gram of tissue) south of the RRV line of incidence. Latitude was found to be significantly correlated with the probability of detecting RRV-positive plants, but plant hardiness zones were not. Plot factors such as plant size, wind barriers, and sun exposure were found to have no effect on P. fructiphilus or the presence of RRV. The reason for the absence of RRV and low populations of P. fructiphilus in this southeast region of the United States are unclear.

Open Access