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  • Author or Editor: Gale H. McGranahan x
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To determine if flavor differences could be detected among several Persian walnut (Juglans regia L.) cultivars, difference tests with eight cultivars were conducted using the duo-trio method. No differences were found when `Hartley' was compared to `Vina', `Scharsch Franquette', and `Mayette'. However, `Chandler', `Chico', `Howard', and `Sunland' were significantly different, and paired comparisons were then used to test these cultivars against `Hartley' in terms of several flavor characteristics. No differences in astringency and “walnut flavor” were detected; however, `Chandler' was judged to be sweeter than `Hartley', which was sweeter than `Howard'. `Chico' was found to be the firmest cultivar.

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RFLP markers were used to study genetic diversity among California walnut (Juglans regia L.) cultivars and germplasm collected worldwide. 16 of 21 RFLP markers were polymorphic in the 48 walnut accessions tested. Seven RFLP markers permitted unique identification of all walnut cultivars. All genotypes were heterozygous at approximately 20% of the loci for both California and worldwide germplasm. California walnut germplasm contained 65% of the worldwide allelic diversity. Cluster analysis of genetic distance between accessions and principal component analysis of allelic genotypes showed two major groups of walnut domestication. California germplasm was associated with germplasm from France, Central Europe, and Iran, and had less genotypic similarity with germplasm from Nepal, China, Korea, and Japan.

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Somatic embryos derived from walnut (Juglans regia L.) ovule tissues were evaluated to determine whether they were of zygotic or maternal origin. Molecular markers were used to permit evaluation at an early stage, before whole plant development. Somatic embryos developed from potentially apomictic `Sunland' and `Cisco' ovule tissue isolated from bagged putatively unpollinated flowers. Phosphoglucomutase (PGM) isozyme analysis showed that all of these embryos, except one from each cultivar, carry the same zymotype as the maternal tissue. However, restriction fragment length polymorphism (RPLP) analysis combined with isozyme evaluation demonstrated that the tested embryos originated from zygotic rather than maternal tissues. This study demonstrates the application of molecular marker analyses, particularly RFLPs, evaluation of somatic embryo origin.

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Seedlings from seven open-pollinated selections of Chinese wingnut (Pterocarya stenoptera) (WN) representing collections of the USDA-ARS National Clonal Germplasm Repository at Davis, CA, and the University of California at Davis were evaluated as rootstocks for resistance to Phytophthora cinnamomi and P. citricola and graft compatibility with scions of five cultivars of Persian walnut (Juglans regia). Seedlings of Northern California black walnut (NCB) (J. hindsii) and Paradox hybrid (PH) (typically J. hindsii × J. regia) were used as standards. In greenhouse experiments, potted plants of the rootstocks were subjected to intermittent flooding in soil artificially infested with the pathogens. All WN seedlings were relatively resistant to the pathogens (means of 0% to 36% of root and crown length rotted) compared with NCB (44% to 100%) and PH seedlings (11% to 100%). Negligible disease occurred in flooded control soil without the pathogens. In 9-year graft compatibility trials in an orchard, NCB and PH rootstocks supported relatively good survival and growth of all tested scion cultivars (‘Chandler’, ‘Hartley’, ‘Serr’, ‘Tulare’, and ‘Vina’; final scion survival 80% to 100%, mean scion circumference increase 292 to 541 mm), whereas results with WN were mixed. Wingnut rootstocks from all sources were incompatible with ‘Chandler’ (final scion survival 20% to 60%, scion circumference increase 17 to 168 mm). Conversely, all WN rootstocks from all sources were compatible with ‘Tulare’ and ‘Vina’ (final scion survival 80% to 100%, scion circumference increase 274 to 556 mm). Use of the WN rootstocks produced variable results in ‘Hartley’ and ‘Serr’ (final scion survival 10% to 100%, mean scion circumference increase 69 to 542 mm). There was a tendency for more rootstock sprouts on WN selections than on NCB or PH. In a commercial walnut orchard infested with P. cinnamomi, ‘Hartley’ survived and grew markedly better on WN selections than on PH. High resistance to P. cinnamomi and P. citricola was common to all of the WN selections. The results indicate that WN selections may be useful rootstocks for cultivars Tulare and Vina in soils infested with P. cinnamomi or P. citricola and that WN selections may contribute valuable resistance to these pathogens in walnut rootstock breeding efforts.

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Insecticidal crystal protein fragments (ICPFs) of Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) encoded by cryIA(c) gene were shown in diet incorporation studies to be lethal to codling moth (CM; Cydia pomonella) the key insect pest for walnut. However transformed walnut tissues expressing cryIA(c) with Bt codon usage patterns and native DNA sequence revealed very low levels of expression in planta. To correct this problem synthetic versions of one of these genes, cryIA(c) was used to transform walnut tissue. A total of 61 individual transgenic embryo lines were obtained. 34% of these lines (21/61) were high expressors (“class A”) demonstrating 80 to 100% mortality of first in star CM larvae and displaying no further larval development. Twelve clones (20%) were designated “class B” and these showed a marked retardation of larval development and a mortality between 40 to 79%. Embryos from the remaining 28 lines designated “class C” (46%). although transformed, were indistinguishable from the control (untransformed embryos) and showed a mortality of 0 to 39%.

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Species of Phytophthora are serious soilborne pathogens of persian (english) walnut, causing crown and root rot and associated production losses worldwide. To facilitate the development of improved walnut rootstocks, we examined resistance of 48 diverse clones and seedlings of Juglans species to P. cinnamomi and P. citricola. Plants were micropropagated, acclimatized to a greenhouse environment, and then exposed to the pathogens in artificially infested potting soil mix. Inoculated plants, as well as noninoculated controls, were subjected to soil flooding for 48 hours every 2 weeks to facilitate infection by the pathogens. Two to 3 months after inoculation, resistance to the pathogens was assessed according to the severity of crown and root rot. Clonal hybrids of J. californica × J. regia were highly susceptible to the pathogens (means 52% to 76% root crown length rotted), while several clones of J. microcarpa × J. regia were significantly less susceptible (means 8% to 79% crown length rotted). Among clones of other parentages tested, including: J. microcarpa, (J. californica × J. nigra) × J. regia, J. hindsii × J. regia, (J. hindsii × J. regia) × J. regia, [(J. major × J. hindsii) × J. nigra] × J. regia, and J. nigra × J. regia, responses varied, but tended to be intermediate. When ‘Serr’ scions were budded or grafted on J. microcarpa × J. regia clone ‘RX1’ or Paradox (J. hindsii × J. regia) seedling rootstocks in a commercial orchard infested with P. cinnamomi, all trees on ‘RX1’ remained healthy, whereas only 49% of those on Paradox survived. Thus, useful resistance to Phytophthora is available among J. microcarpa × J. regia hybrids and is evident in ‘RX1’ rootstock.

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