Spinach (Spinacia oleracea L.) is an important vegetable worldwide with high nutritional and health-promoting compounds. Bolting is an important trait to consider to grow spinach in different seasons and regions. Plant height and leaf erectness are important traits for machine harvesting. Breeding slow bolting, taller, and more erect spinach cultivars is needed for improved spinach production. A total of 288 United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) spinach accessions were used as the association panel in this research. Single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) discovered through genotyping by sequencing (GBS) were used for genotyping. Two structured populations and the admixtures were inferred for the 288 spinach accession panel using STRUCTURE and MEGA. Association mapping was conducted using single-marker regression (SMR) in QGene, and general linear model (GLM) and mixed linear model (MLM) built in TASSEL. Three SNP markers, AYZV02001321_398, AYZV02041012_1060, and AYZV02118171_95 were identified to be associated with bolting. Eight SNP markers, AYZV02014270_540, AYZV02250508_2162, AYZV02091523_19842, AYZV02141794_376, AYZV02077023_64, AYZV02210662_2532, AYZV02153224_2197, and AYZV02003975_248 were found to be associated with plant height. Four SNP markers, AYZV02188832_229, AYZV02219088_79, AYZV02030116_256, and AYZV02129827_197 were associated with erectness. These SNP markers may provide breeders with a tool in spinach molecular breeding to select spinach bolting, plant height, and erectness through marker-assisted selection (MAS).
Breeding heat-tolerant spinach is an important project to meet the demand of increasing spinach production in heat conditions. Seed germination is the early stage to test, screen, and develop heat-tolerant spinach genotypes. The objective of this research was to determine temperature effect on the seed germination percentage and to select heat-tolerant spinach genotypes. A total of nine spinach genotypes were used in this research. The germination experiment was conducted using seven temperatures: 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 32, and 35 °C under growth chambers. The temperature trials were conducted using completely randomized design (CRD) with three replicates. Spinach seed germination percentage varied among the nine spinach genotypes under the seven temperatures, indicating that genetic variation for heat tolerance existed in the nine spinach genotypes. ‘Donkey’, ‘Marabu’, and ‘Raccoon’ showed higher seed germination percentage with over 70% at 30 and 32 °C, indicating the three spinach genotypes had heat tolerance for germination. However, all spinach genotypes except ‘Ozarka II’ dropped their germination percentages sharply to less than 30%; ‘Ozarka II’ had 63% germination under 35 °C, indicating it is a good source of heat tolerance for seed germination. The higher germination percentages above 30 °C of ‘Ozarka II’, ‘Donkey’, ‘Marabu’, and ‘Raccoon’ may indicate their potential as donors of heat-tolerant traits in spinach breeding program.