Chemical composition and essential oil yields from aerial parts of 31 Iranian Achillea millefolium accessions, each collected from their natural habitats of Iran and grown together in field conditions, were investigated. The concentrations of the hydro-distilled essential oils ranged from 0.03% to 0.39%. Gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC–MS) analysis revealed 50 compounds in the accessions. The main components of the essential oils in Iranian A. millefolium accessions varied in the following ranges: 1,8-Cineole, 1.2–19.8%; β-thujone, 0.4–55.3%; camphor, 0.6–25.5%; germacrene-D, 2–20.6%; trans-nerolidol, 0.4–48.1%; isospathulenol, 0.5–36%; and cubenol, 0.1–42.9%. According to cluster analysis, five chemotypes were obtained as 1,8-Cineole/trans-nerolidol, high cubenol, high germacrene-D/isospathulenol, high camphor/cubenol, and high 1,8-Cineole/ β-thujone/cubenol. The result of principal component analysis (PCA) indicated that germacrene-D and isospathulenol components were under more genetic control than the other main components. Results revealed a high level of variation of composition and yield of essential oils among the Iranian A. millefolium accessions.
To select the superior parents for the breeding program we oriented to produce new early-ripening cultivars, we evaluated more than 60 productive and vegetative characters in 108 native and imported cultivars grown in national collection for commercial apples located in Karaj, Iran, using an apple descriptor. The germination percentage of 100,000 hybrid seeds was 7% in the first year. In the second year, only 3000 from 7000 seedlings had to pass the final screening. Use of morphological markers as an early selection technique showed high efficiency in the apple breeding program. This study was conducted to determine heritability of certain morphological traits potentially used for selection of fruit early-ripening progenies in apple (Malus ×domestica Borkh.). Morphological traits in 3- and 4-year-old seedlings from 28 half-sib and 16 full-sib families were studied in 2007 and 2008, respectively. Parent–progeny correlations were analyzed using true-to-type progenies and their relative parents, all in the juvenile phase. Significant variations were observed between parental cultivars and half-sib and full-sib progenies for most of the studied traits. Positive correlations were found between seedling height and other morphological characters. A highly significant correlation (r = 0.98) was observed between branch distance along seedling stem and number of branches. The results showed that the heritability varied among the traits, ranging from moderate to high values. A high level of heritability was found in leaf chlorophyll concentration (LCC) and seedling heights in both half-sib and full-sib families. Heritability of half-sib progenies derived from the early-ripening parents was higher than the late-ripening parents. The relatively high heritability estimates for morphological traits, particularly in early-ripening cross combinations, suggested narrow-sense heritability as a criterion for early screening. The progenies of early cultivars exhibited the maximum and minimum heritability for seedling height (0.91) and leaf length (0.56), respectively. Oppositely, in the late-ripening progenies, the maximum and minimum heritability were found in LW and TD traits (0.79 and 0.42), respectively.