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  • Author or Editor: Ryutaro Tao x
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Japanese apricot (Prunus mume Sieb. et Zucc.) exhibits S-RNase-based gametophytic self-incompatibility as do other Prunus species. Both self-incompatible and self-compatible Japanese apricot cultivars are grown commercially in Japan. These self-compatible cultivars are shown to have a common S-haplotype called S f that contains S f -RNase and SFB f (S-haplotype-specific F-box protein). This study describes a simple and rapid detection of SFB f , in Japanese apricot, based on loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) method. A set of 4 primers, F3, B3, FIP, and BIP primer, were designed from the exon and the putative inserted sequence of SFB f . Optimal reaction time at 63 C was determined to be 90 minutes. It appeared that the LAMP method combined with the ultrasimple DNA extraction efficiently detected SFB f . The advantage of the marker-assisted selection of self-compatibility based on the LAMP method was discussed.

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Fruit size is one of the most important traits that affect the economic value of fruit. In persimmon (Diospyros kaki Thunb.), somatic and bud-sport mutations that affect the fruit traits are frequently observed. Recently, a small-fruit mutant, ‘Totsutanenashi’ (TTN), was discovered in Japan as a bud-sport mutant of the leading cultivar Hiratanenashi (HTN). In this study, we investigated the morphological and physiological characteristics of TTN and HTN focusing on the tree architecture, fruit size, and the fruit flesh chemical composition. The objectives of the study were to evaluate the potential horticultural use of TTN and to characterize the differences between HTN and TTN. Both TTN and HTN are nonaploid plants, indicating that a difference in ploidy is not the cause of the small-fruit mutation. The vegetative growth of trees and tissue-cultured shoots of TTN was more compact than that of HTN. The floral organs of TTN appeared similar to those of HTN before flowering, but the TTN flowers opened earlier, resulting in smaller ovaries than in HTN flowers. The fruit size of TTN was consistently lower than that of HTN at all fruit developmental stages. TTN fruit had a higher sugar content and a higher proportion of sucrose to total sugars than HTN fruit. TTN fruits contained lower levels of secondary metabolites such as soluble tannins and ascorbate than HTN fruits. These results suggest that the fruit size mutation also affects the fruit biochemistry, leading to alterations in the fruit flesh composition. TTN may be a valuable genetic resource because compact trees require less labor and maintenance, and small, sweeter fruits may meet the various needs of consumers. The use of TTN in studies of the genetic control of fruit size is also discussed.

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Flower bud development and the timing of blooming are mainly affected by genotype-dependent chilling requirements (CRs) during endodormancy and subsequent heat requirements (HRs) during ecodormancy. However, little information is available regarding the responses of flower buds to temperatures during endodormancy and ecodormancy in japanese apricot. We exposed japanese apricot ‘Nanko’ trees to various temperatures to estimate the CRs and HRs using development index (DVI) models specific for the endodormant (DVIendo) and ecodormant (DVIeco) stages. These models were based on the experimentally determined development rate (DVR). The DVRendo value was calculated as the reciprocal of the chilling time required to break endodormancy. The relationship between the DVRendo value and temperature was estimated using a three-dimensional curve. Our results indicated that 5–6 °C was the most effective temperature for breaking endodormancy in ‘Nanko’ flower buds. Additionally, exposure to −3 °C negatively affected endodormancy release, whereas 15 °C had no effect. We also determined that the DVReco values for temperatures between 5 and 20 °C were the reciprocal values of the time required for blooming after endodormancy release. The values outside this range were estimated using linear functions. The DVI was defined as the sum of the DVR values ranging from 0 to 1. Models for predicting the blooming date were constructed using the functions of sequentially combined DVIendo and DVIeco models. The accuracy of each model was assessed by comparing the predicted and actual blooming dates. The prediction of the model in which DVIeco = 1 corresponded to a 40% blooming level and DVIeco = 0 was set to DVIendo = 0.5 had the lowest root mean square error (RMSE) value (i.e., 3.11) for trees in commercial orchards exposed to different climates. Our results suggest that the developed model may have practical applications.

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Most of the self-compatible (SC) cultivars of almond [Prunus dulcis (Mill.) D.A. Webb. syn. P. amygdalus Batsch] have the Sf haplotype. In this study, we cloned and characterized the S locus region of the Sf haplotype of SC ‘Lauranne’. The relative transcriptional orientation of SFBf and Sf-RNase and the physical distance between them are similar to those of other functional self-incompatible (SI) S haplotypes of Prunus, indicating that the genomic structure of the SC Sf haplotype appears to be intact. Although there is no apparent mutation in the coding sequence of SFBf , the Sf-RNase sequence in this study and previously reported Sf-RNase sequences show discrepancies. First, as opposed to previous indications, the ‘Lauranne’ Sf-RNase sequence encodes a histidine residue in place of a previously reported arginine residue in the conserved C2 region of Prunus S-RNase. Direct sequencing of the polymerase chain reaction products from the Sf-RNase of ‘Tuono’ confirmed that ‘Tuono’ Sf-RNase also encodes the histidine residue. We found another difference in the ‘Lauranne’ Sf-RNase sequence and other reported Sf-RNase sequences. Namely, ‘Lauranne’ Sf-RNase encodes a phenylalanine residue in place of a previously reported leucine residue in the conserved C5 region of Prunus S-RNase. This is also the case for ‘Tuono’ Sf-RNase. Expression analysis of Sf-RNase and SFBf by reverse transcriptase–polymerase chain reaction showed that Sf-RNase transcripts were barely detectable in pistil, whereas SFBf transcripts were accumulated at a similar level to the level that was observed with SFB of other functional SI S haplotypes of almond. We discuss the possible molecular mechanisms of SC observed with the Sf haplotype with special references to the expression of Sf-RNase.

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