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  • Author or Editor: James N. Moore x
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Blackberries have long been a popular fruit in the southern U.S., and they are widely grown there, with excellent potential for expanded production. Raspberries are also well-liked, but not widely grown, due to lack of adapted cultivars. Great progress has been made, particularly in the past four decades, in improving blackberry cultivars for the South, but little effort has been given to raspberry improvement. Germplasm exists within Rubus to provide great advances in conventional cultivar improvement in both subgenera and for creating new types of fruits through interspecific hybridization. Germplasm and breeding strategies will be discussed that would result in new cultivars to serve as the foundation on which to build much expanded blackberry and raspberry industries in the southern United States.

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Our fruit breeding program was initiated in 1964 to provide new cultivars to stimulate fruit production for Arkansas. To date, 3 blackberry, 2 strawberry, and 1 grape cultivars have been released; peach, nectarine, and apple releases are planned in the near future, and several selections of these crops are in advanced stages of pre-release testing. The overall objective of the breeding program is to develop disease resistent, high quality, cultivars adapted to the soils and climate of Arkansas.

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The fruit breeding program of the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station was begun in 1964. Crops initially targeted for improvement were strawberry, grape, and blackberry. In 1966, projects were approved for the breeding of peaches, nectarines, and apples; blueberries were added in 1976. The overall objective of the fruit breeding program is to develop cultivars uniquely adapted to the soils and climate of Arkansas to maximize production efficiency and that produce high-quality fruits for effective market use. To date, 16 cultivars have been developed and released from this program (Table 1). Many of these have become major commercial cultivars, not only in Arkansas but also in many other states.

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This symposium has successfully illuminated the history, present status, and future directions of fruit genetic resources and their management. The blue ribbon panel of speakers, each with different expertise and interest, has interwoven separate perspectives into a common fabric of purpose: The collection, preservation, and use of the world’s fruit genetic resources.

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The world in which we live and work is in a rapid state of change. Change is evident in all aspects of life—technological, scientific, sociological, economic, demographic, political. Changes are occurring rapidly in the science and technology of horticulture, and changes occurring in other arenas of life are having, or will have, a significant impact on our profession. It has been said that there have been more significant developments in science and technology in the 20th century than in all the preceding history of humankind. Associated with changing technology have been great sociological changes. The impact of these changes, and others predicted to occur, on the science and profession of horticulture is the subject of my Presidential Address.

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Cold hardiness was evaluated in twelve seedling populations of tetraploid blackberry, in 1988 and 1989. Seedling populations resulted from crosses made between nine parents of three different categories of cold hardiness. Viability testing of xylem, phloem, and bud tissues were conducted following exposure of tissues to a low temperature estimated to kill one-half of all tissues. Tissues were rated as alive if green and dead if any browning of tissue was seen.

Significant population effects (P<.05) were seen for xylem and bud survival in 1988 and for xylem, phloem, and bud survival in 1989. Results were similar for the two years, although there was a greater discrimination between populations for xylem and phloem survival in the second year. The four populations having `Darrow' as a parent consistently showed greater survival than the other eight lines. The six populations which had `Brison' as one parent showed consistently poor survival with the exception of one resulting from a cross of `Brison' × `Darrow'. This population showed consistently good hardiness, indicating that dominance effects may play a role in cold hardiness of blackberries.

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Root cuttings of A-1836, APF-13, and NC194 primocane-fruiting (PF) blackberry (Rubus subgenus Rubus) genotypes were dug from the field on 31 July 1997 and stored in plastic bags at 2 °C for 32 days. On 1 Sept. freshly dug root cuttings, along with the cold-treated ones, were planted in pots, which were kept in a lath house for 4 weeks and then moved to a heated greenhouse under natural daylength. Cold-treatment hastened emergence of all genotypes. Transition from vegetative to floral phase was first observed in cold-treated A-1836 and APF-13 at the fifth node, with floral appendages clearly evident in both genotypes at the seventh node 45 days after planting (DAP). Bloom started on 26 Nov. and 5 Dec. 1997 and the first fruits were picked on 10 and 25 Jan. 1998 in cold-treated APF-13 and A-1836, respectively. Plants of cold-treated NC194 and of all non-cold-treated genotypes remained stunted with rosetted leaves, showing no signs of floral initiation until 150 DAP. These findings show that exposure to chilling prior to shoot emergence greatly promotes flowering in PF blackberries, and may have application in greenhouse culture of blackberry.

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