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Jessica Gaus Barb, Dennis J. Werner and Shyamalrau P. Tallury

Stokesia laevis (J. Hill) Greene is a herbaceous perennial native to the southeastern United States. Most cultivars of Stokesia are diploid (2n = 2x = 14) except for ‘Omega Skyrocket’, a tetraploid (2n = 4x = 28) form selected from a natural population. A comparative study of the karyotypes and meiotic behavior of diploid cultivars, seed-derived accessions of ‘Omega Skyrocket’, synthetically derived autotetraploids, and triploid progeny from these taxa strongly suggest that ‘Omega Skyrocket’ is an autotetraploid form of Stokesia. Total karyotype length, 161 μm and 293 μm, and average chromosome length, 11.5 μm and 10.5 μm, of the diploid cultivars and tetraploid accessions of ‘Omega Skyrocket’, respectively, were determined. The karyotype of the diploid cultivars consisted of eight metacentric (m) and six submetacentric (sm) chromosomes with average arm ratio values ranging from 1.12 to 2.06. The karyotype of ‘Omega Skyrocket’ consisted of 23 m chromosomes and 5 sm chromosomes with average arm ratio values ranging from 1.22 to 2.02. Meiotic pairing in the diploids was normal. No meiotic irregularities such as laggards or bridges were observed and disjunction was balanced (7:7). Accessions of ‘Omega Skyrocket’ demonstrated a high frequency (60%) of quadrivalent formation; however, later stages of meiosis were regular with balanced disjunction (14:14) occurring in 95% of the cells. Meiotic configurations in synthetically derived autotetraploids and triploid hybrids from crosses of diploid cultivars × ‘Omega Skyrocket’ consisted of univalents, bivalents, trivalents, quadrivalents, and pentavalents. Abnormalities, including laggards, unequal and/or premature disjunction, chromosome bridges, and chromosome stickiness were observed. Average nuclear 2C DNA content was 20.3 pg for the diploid cultivars and 39.9 pg for the newly synthesized autotetraploids. Average nuclear 2C DNA content for ‘Omega Skyrocket’ was 37.3 pg, which was 8.2% less than twice the average 2C DNA content of the diploid accessions and 6.4% less than the newly synthesized autotetraploids, suggesting that genomic downsizing in ‘Omega Skyrocket’ has occurred. Similarity of the karyotypes of the diploids and ‘Omega Skyrocket’ and the slight reduction in nuclear DNA content suggest that ‘Omega Skyrocket’ has diverged little from its original diploid progenitor.

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Dennis J. Werner, Michael A. Creller and José X. Chaparro

Inheritance of the blood-flesh (red-violet mesocarp) trait in peach [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch.] was investigated in S1, S2, F1, F2, F3, BC1P1, and BC1P2 families derived from `Harrow Blood', a clone showing anthocyanin accumulation in fruit about 45-50 days after anthesis. This trait invariably was associated with the red midrib leaf phenotype in `Harrow Blood', an S1 family from `Harrow Blood', and in green leaf F2 progeny derived from `Harrow Blood' × `Rutgers Red Leaf 2n'. A segregation ratio of about 3 blood-flesh : 1 wild-type was observed in the S1 family, but F1 progeny produced only wild-type fruit. Examination of F2 progeny segregating for the blood-flesh and red leaf traits revealed no evidence of epistasis. Based on segregation ratios in F1, F2, F3, BC1P1, and BC1P2 families from this cross, the F1 family from `Contender × (`Harrow Blood' × `Rutgers Red Leaf 2n'), and six additional F1 families from crosses between `Harrow Blood' and green leaf clones with wild-type fruit, we propose that blood-flesh is controlled by one gene, designated bf (blood-flesh). The blood-flesh phenotype was associated with reduced tree height in S1 and F2 progeny derived from `Harrow Blood'. Segregation for leaf blade color deviated significantly (P = 0.05) from the expected 3 red : 1 green ratio in six of the F2 families derived from selfing seven F1 trees from `Harrow Blood' × `Rutgers Red Leaf 2n'.

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Bruce D. Mowrey, Dennis J. Werner and David H. Byrne

Eighteen isozyme systems were surveyed in the peach [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch.] plant introduction collection. Seven systems were polymorphic. Three previously unreported isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDH; EC 1.1.1.41), three malate dehydrogenase (MDH; EC 1.1.1.37) and two shikimate dehydrogenase (SDH; EC 1.1.1.25) banding patterns were detected in the clones. Isocitrate dehydrogenase was dimeric in structure, with two alleles present at a single locus. Malate dehydrogenase was dimeric in structure, with three alleles present at the fast locus, while a second locus was monomorphic. Shikimate dehydrogenase was monomeric, with one allele present in most clones, while PI 113452, PI 113650, and PI 117679 were heterozygous for a slow SDH allele. Electrophoretic evidence suggests PI 113452, PI 113650, and PI 117679 are peach × almond (P. dulcis Webb) hybrids, since they were heterozygous for alleles previously reported only in almond.

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Michael A. Creller, Jose X. Chaparro and Dennis J. Werner

Inheritance of the blood flesh (red-violet mesocarp) trait in peach [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch] was investigated. `Harrow Blood' fruit began accumulation of anthocyanin about 40 days after anthesis. The blood-fleshed trait was associated with the red-veined leaf phenotype in `Harrow Blood' and its self progeny. An approximate segregation ratio of 3:1 (red vein:green vein) was observed in a population generated by selfing `Harrow Blood'. All 112 F1 progeny from a cross of `Harrow Blood' × `Rutgers Red Leaf'-2n produced wild-type fruit. Phenotypic segregation for red leaf:green leaf deviated from the expected 3:1 ratio in two of three F2 families derived from these F1's. More red leaf segregants were observed than expected. Bed-veined, green-leafed progeny comprised about 25% of the green-leafed seedlings in the F2. Examination of fruit on a limited number of F2 segregants revealed the presence of red-leafed, blood-fleshed individual. Preliminary results suggest that the blood trait may be controlled by two loci. The red-vein phenotype was associated with reduced tree height in self progeny of `Harrow Blood'.

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Phillip A. Wadl, Robert N. Trigiano, Dennis J. Werner, Margaret R. Pooler and Timothy A. Rinehart

There are 11 recognized Cercis L. species, but identification is problematic using morphological characters, which are largely quantitative and continuous. Previous studies have combined morphological and molecular data to resolve taxonomic questions about geographic distribution of Cercis species, identifying botanical varieties, and associations between morphological variation and the environment. Three species have been used in ornamental plant breeding in the United States, including three botanical varieties of C. canadensis L. from North America and two Asian species, C. chingii Chun and C. chinensis Bunge. In this article, 51 taxa were sampled comprising eight species of Cercis and a closely related species, Bauhinia faberi Oliv. Sixty-eight polymorphic simple sequence repeat markers were used to assess genetic relationships between species and cultivars. For all samples the number of alleles detected ranged from two to 20 and 10 or more alleles were detected at 22 loci. Average polymorphic information content was 0.57 and values ranged from 0.06 to 0.91 with 44 loci 0.50 or greater. Cross-species transfer within Cercis was extremely high with 55 loci that amplified at 100%. Results support previously reported phylogenetic relationships of the North American and western Eurasian species and indicate suitability of these markers for mapping studies involving C. canadensis and C. chinensis. Results also support known pedigrees from ornamental tree breeding programs for the widely cultivated C. canadensis and C. chinensis species, which comprised the majority of the samples analyzed.

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Allan F. Brown, Gad G. Yousef, Ivette Guzman, Kranthi K. Chebrolu, Dennis J. Werner, Mike Parker, Ksenija Gasic and Penelope Perkins-Veazie

The objective of this study was to examine the relative impact of genetics and environment on phenolic and carotenoid profiles in peach (Prunus persica) germplasm. Fully mature, (“ready-to-eat” stage) firm fruit of peach cultivars China Pearl, Contender, and Carolina Gold were collected from established trees at two North Carolina locations in 2009 and 2010. Advanced breeding selections NC Yellow and NC 97-48 were collected from a single location in both years. Using tandem extractions and chromatography analyses, 10 carotenoids and 24 phenolic compounds were quantified separately in the peel and flesh. Statistically significant differences were noted among peach cultivars and advanced selections for β-carotene, cyanidin-3-glucoside, cyanidin-3-rutinoside, cholorogenic acid, quercetin-3-glucoside, and individual procyanidins. Peel anthocyanin (ANC) concentration ranged from 183 mg/100 g in ‘Contender’ to non-detectable levels in NC97-48 and NC Yellow. ‘China Pearl’ and ‘Carolina Gold’ produced ANC levels approximately half of ‘Contender’. Chlorogenic acid concentration also fit a discrete pattern of accumulation but was not related to the accumulation of ANC. ‘China Pearl’, NC 97-48, and NC Yellow contained the highest levels of chlorogenic acid (105 to 136 mg/100 g), ‘Carolina Gold’ contained the lowest (52 mg/100 g), and ‘Contender’ represented an intermediate phenotype (70 mg/100 g). Statistically significant genetic variation was found for almost all compounds identified, whereas location and year effects tended to be compound-specific. For chlorogenic acid, 28% of the phenotypic variance was explained by location (year = nonsignificant), whereas 40% of the phenotypic variation of ANC was explained by differences in years (location = nonsignificant). Analyzing fruit from the same environment over 2 years or from two locations in the same year would not have adequately accounted for the variation associated with environment. The detailed phytochemical profile of peach reported here demonstrates the importance of multiyear, multilocation analysis in revealing accurate measures of phytochemical genetic variation and provides a comprehensive baseline analysis of phytochemicals in commonly grown peach cultivars that can be used to evaluate novel germplasm.