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  • Author or Editor: Nicholas P. Howard x
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Apple (Malus ×domestica Borkh.) breeding at the University of Minnesota (UMN) has been ongoing continuously since 1908 when staff originally planted thousands of seedlings from open-pollinated (OP) seeds collected from regional orchards. The first cultivar from the program, ‘Minnehaha’, was introduced in 1920 and several others from these OP seeds followed over the next 3 decades. Controlled crosses were initiated in 1916, and until the time of this publication, 28 cultivars have been introduced. Historical records of parentage, as recorded by staff in notebooks and in 20th-century publications, have been used to inform breeding decisions but might be incorrect as indicated by earlier explorations of parentage using simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers. Our objective was to elucidate parentage and extended pedigrees of all available cultivars introduced from the UMN apple breeding program using evaluations of Mendelian errors and shared haplotype length information based on data from single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) arrays. Sixteen of the 21 cultivars introduced before ‘Honeycrisp’ (1991) had incorrect or incomplete pedigrees that are now at least partially elucidated. These include the two most important regional cultivars in the 20th century: ‘Haralson’ (parents: ‘Malinda’ and ‘Wealthy’) and ‘Fireside’ (parents: ‘Wealthy’ and ‘Northwest Greening’). ‘Wealthy’, a widely grown cultivar in the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, was a frequent parent of older UMN cultivars. ‘Malinda’ was a less frequent parent than indicated by breeding records. ‘Duchess of Oldenburg’ (synonym ‘Borowitsky’) was revealed as an ancestor of overwhelming importance in the UMN breeding program. It was an ancestor of 27 of the 28 UMN cultivars, including as a parent of two cultivars, and a grandparent of 15 cultivars, including ‘Honeycrisp’.

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