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  • Author or Editor: Jude Grosser x
  • Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science x
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Interploid hybridization was conducted using `Key' lime [Citrus aurantifolia (Cristm.) Swing.], `Lakeland' limequat hybrid [C. aurantifolia × Fortunella japonica (Thumb.) Swing.], Palestine sweet lime (C. limettioides Tan.), `Etrog' citron (C. medica L.), and seven lemon [C. limon (L.) Burm. F.] varieties as female progenitors and five allotetraploid somatic hybrids {`Hamlin' sweet orange [C. sinensis (L.) Osbeck] × `Femminello' lemon (C. limon)]; `Key' lime × `Valencia' sweet orange (C. sinensis); `Valencia' sweet orange × rough lemon (C. jambhiri Lush); Milam lemon (purported C. jambhiri hybrid) × `Femminello' lemon (C. limon); and `Valencia' sweet orange × `Femminello' lemon} and two autotetraploids [`Giant Key' lime (C. aurantifolia) and `Femminello' lemon] as pollen progenitors. A few tetraploid × diploid crosses were also performed. Thirty-five parental cross combinations were accomplished in 2000, 2001, and 2002. The breeding targets were seedlessness, cold-tolerance, and disease resistance. Triploid hybrids were recovered through embryo culture. Generation of triploid citrus hybrids was affected by several factors including sexual compatibility, cross direction, embryo developmental stage, pollen viability, as well as horticultural practices and climatic conditions. Efficiency of triploid hybrid production was higher in diploid × tetraploid crosses than the reciprocal. Many more triploid hybrids were generated from lemon seed progenitors compared to the other acid citrus fruit progenitors. `Todo el Año', `Lisbon', and `Limonero Fino 49' showed the highest sexual compatibility. Embryo germination rate and normal plant recovery were also higher in lemons as compared to the other seed progenitors. Low winter temperatures might have affected the hybrid production efficiency from tropical acid fruit progenitors. A total of 650 hybrids (mostly triploid) were transferred to soil. The novel genetic combinations of these progenies should be valuable for the genetic improvement of acid citrus fruit (lemons and limes).

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Anthocyanins are beneficial bioflavonoids that have numerous roles in human health maintenance, disease prevention, and overall well-being. In addition, anthocyanins are key to the consumer appeal of many ornamental plants. Most citrus (Citrus L.) plants do not produce anthocyanins under warm tropical and subtropical conditions. Anthocyanin pigments, responsible for the “blood” color of blood orange [Citrus sinensis (L.) Osbeck], are produced after exposure to cold conditions during the fruit’s development. The transcription factor Ruby is responsible for the production of anthocyanin in blood orange. Functionally, similar genes exist in other fruit crops such as grape [Vitis vinifera L. (VvmybA1 and VvmybA2)] and apple [Malus ×domestica Borkh (MdMYB10)]. Here, VvmybA1 and Ruby genes were constitutively expressed in ‘Mexican’ lime (Citrus aurantifolia Swingle). This cultivar performs optimally under Florida’s humid subtropical environment and has a short juvenile phase. Constitutive expression of VvmybA1 or Ruby resulted in anthocyanin pigmentation in the leaves, stems, flowers, and fruit. An increased pigmentation of the outer layer(s) of stem tissue was observed in ‘Mexican’ lime overexpressing the VvmybA1, whereas lower anthocyanin levels were observed in plants overexpressing Ruby. Enhanced pigmentation was also observed in the young leaves; however, pigment intensity levels decreased as the leaves matured. Flower color ranged from light pink to fuchsia and the fruit pulp of several ‘Mexican’ lime lines were maroon; similar to a blood orange. The results demonstrate that expression of anthocyanin-related genes can affect temporal pigmentation patterns in citrus. It also opens up the possibility for the development of modified blood orange and other cultivars adapted to the subtropical environment.

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Sour orange has been a premier citrus rootstock worldwide due to its ability to perform on challenging soils and to produce and hold high-quality fruit. However, increasingly widespread quick-decline isolates of citrus tristeza virus (CTV) have destroyed entire industries on sour orange in some countries, and are in the process of destroying millions of trees on sour orange in Florida. CTV also threatens other citrus locations planted heavy to sour orange, including Texas and Mexico. An acceptable alternative rootstock to replace sour orange is in high demand but has yet to be developed. Molecular analyses have recently determined that sour orange is probably a hybrid of pummelo and mandarin. We report the production of 12 new mandarin + pummelo somatic hybrids produced by protoplast fusion from selected superior mandarin and pummelo parents, in efforts to develop a suitable replacement sour-orange-like rootstock that is resistant to CTV-induced quick decline. Somatic hybrids from all 12 parental combinations were confirmed by a combination of leaf morphology, flow cytometry, and RAPD analyses (for nuclear hybridity). These new mandarin + pummelo somatic hybrids are being propagated by rooted cuttings as necessary to conduct quick-decline resistance assays and to assess horticultural performance in replicated field trials.

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Protoplasm culture following polyethylene glycol (PEG) -induced fusion resulted in the regeneration of somatic hybrid plants from the following six parental combinations: Citrus sinermis (L.) Osbeck cv. Hamlin + Severinia buxifolia (Poir.) Tenore (Chinese box-orange); C. reticulate Blanco cv. Cleopatra + Poncirus trifoliata (L.) Raf. cv. Flying Dragon; C. reticulate cv . Cleopatra + Swingle citrumelo (C. paradisi Macf. × P. trifoliata); C. sinensis cv . Hamlin + C. jambhiri cv . Rough lemon; C. sinensis cv . Valencia + C. jambhiri cv . Rough lemon; and C. paradisi cv . Thompson + `Murcott' tangor (purported hybrid of C. reticulate × C. sinensis). Diploid plants were regenerated from nonfused embryogenic culture-derived protoplasts of `Cleopatra' mandarin and `Hamlin' and `Valencia' sweet orange, and from nonfused leaf-derived protoplasts of Rough lemon and `Mnrcott'. Regenerated plants were classified according to leaf morphology, chromosome number, and isozyme analyses. All of the somatic hybrids reported herein are tetraploid (2n = 4x = 36), with the exception of the `Hamlin' + S. buxifolia hybrid, which was unexpectedly found to have a chromosome number of 2n = 27. These six new somatic hybrids have potential in citrus scion and rootstock improvement for commercial use.

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Six mandarin cultivars, Ponkan (Citrus reticulata), Willowleaf (Citrus deliciosa), Kinnow (Citrus nobilis × C. deliciosa), Murcott (purported C. reticulata × Citrus sinensis), W. Murcott [purported (C. reticulata × C. sinensis) × C. reticulata)], and Snack (purported C. reticulata hybrid), were used in protoplast fusion with different parental combinations to generate somatic hybrids. Sixty-five somatic regenerants were obtained using optimized formulation of enzymes and molecular weight of polyethylene glycol for improved protoplast yield and heterokaryon fusion rate, respectively. Flow cytometry was used to determine the ploidy level of somatic regenerants, and nuclear expressed sequence tag–simple sequence repeat (EST-SSR) markers to determine their parental source. Of the 65 somatic regenerants, 46 were identified as autotetraploids, 18 allotetraploids, and one undefined. The EST-SSR markers also revealed that some ‘W. Murcott’ embryogenic callus lines that were presumed to be of nucellar origin were actually derived unexpectedly from individual ovules of zygotic origin. These mandarin-derived tetraploids are valuable as potential breeding parents for interploid crosses with an aim at seedlessness and easy-peeling traits.

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In cybridization, new combinations of nuclear and cytoplasmic genes result in a unique genotype that may bring cellular, physical, physiological, and biochemical changes to the plant. This has been demonstrated in the unexpected cybrids generated from the fusion of citrus (Citrus sp.) protoplasts in two independent experiments. The first experiment was conducted to generate potentially seedless triploids by fusing diploid protoplasts of embryogenic ‘Dancy’ mandarin (Citrus reticulata) suspension culture cells with haploid ‘Ruby Red’ grapefruit (C. paradisi) protoplasts derived from tetrad-stage microspores. After multiple attempts, only one triploid was recovered, but several diploid plants with typical grapefruit morphology were also regenerated. In the second experiment, protoplasts derived from embryogenic ‘Dancy’ mandarin suspension culture were fused with nonembryogenic protoplasts from ‘Duncan’ grapefruit leaves in an effort to produce an allotetraploid somatic hybrid. The fruit from the resulting trees resembled grapefruit in morphology and type, and maintained excellent quality throughout the summer, when commercial grapefruit rapidly loses quality. Fruit on these trees remained firm with exceptional sweetness and good flavor into August, and without seed germination. The regenerants obtained in the protoplast fusion experiments were confirmed as cybrids by genetic marker analyses. The test grapefruit were identical to commercial ‘Ruby Red’ grapefruit at six nuclear simple sequence repeat (SSR) marker loci, but identical to ‘Dancy’ with respect to a mitochondrial intron marker. The plastid genomes of individual trees originated from either fusion partner. In the first experiment, haploid ‘Ruby Red’ protoplast preparations must have also contained contaminant diploid protoplasts. Apart from the value of altered fruit quality attributes in the marketplace, these plants provide an opportunity to understand the contributions of cytoplasmic organelle genetics to important citrus fruit-breeding objectives.

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