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  • Author or Editor: Shawn A. Mehlenbacher x
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Disease resistance is an objective of most breeding programs for small fruits, tree fruits, and nuts. Often a moderate level of resistance is adequate, and must be combined with many other desirable horticultural characteristics. Classical methods (a segregating population of the host plant is inoculated with a virulent isolate of the pathogen under environmental conditions appropriate for disease development) have been used with great success and have incorporated both horizontal and vertical resistance. Molecular approaches offer new opportunities and are likely to be appropriate and cost-effective in a few situations. Transformation is not yet routine in fruit and nut crops, and there is a shortage of useful genes. Genetic maps are being constructed using RFLP and RAPD markers in several species, allowing determination of number and location of important genes as well as indirect selection based on linked markers. This presentation will include examples of both classical and molecular approaches as they are used in the genetic improvement of fruit and nut crops with an emphasis on fungal and bacterial diseases.

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Chilling requirements of 44 genotypes of Corylus avellana L. were estimated by cutting shoots in the field at weekly intervals and forcing them in a warm greenhouse for four weeks. The chilling requirements of catkins, female flowers, and leaf buds were assumed to have been met when development occurred on more than half of the respective plant parts. Chilling requirements were lowest for catkins and highest for leaf buds, and ranged from <100 to 860 hours for catkins, 290-1550 hours for female flowers, and 365-1395 hours for leaf buds. The lowest chilling requirements were observed for the leading cultivars of Turkey and southern Italy. The yellow-leafed ornamental C. avellana var. aure a had very high chilling requirements for all plant parts.

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Abstract

Semihardwood cuttings of 82 genotypes of peach [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch] and complex hybrids of peach with almond (P. amygdalus Batsch), P. davidiana, P. kansuensis, and P. persica vulgaris siberica were rooted under mist. Average rooting percentages ranged from 7% to 100%. Peach selections generally rooted well with the exception of hardy rootstock selections. P. davidiana rooted poorly, but most of its hybrid progeny rooted well. P. kansuensis and its hybrid progeny rooted well. Peach x almond F1 hybrids generally rooted poorly; the rooting percentage was higher in backcrosses to peach.

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A chlorophyll deficiency expressed as yellowing of leaves was observed in hazelnut (Corylus avellana L.) progenies. Segregation ratios approximated 3 green: 1 yellow, indicating control by a single recessive gene designated chlorophyll deficient #1, for which the symbol c, is proposed. `Barcelona', `Butler', `Compton', `Lansing', Willamette', and the ornamental selection `Redleaf #3' are heterozygous. Pedigree analysis strongly suggests that all heteroxygotes inherited the recessive allele from `Barcelona'. A cross of `Barcelona' with the yellow-leafed ornamental Corylus avellana L. var. aurea Kirchn. produced no yellow-leafed seedlings, indicating that the chlorophyll deficiencies from these two sources are controlled by different loci. Progenies segregating simultaneously for this trait and the gene controlling presence of anthocyanin indicated that the two traits are inherited independently. Seedlings deficient in chlorophyll but with anthocyanin were able to survive under field conditions, while leaves of yellow-leafed seedlings lacking anthocyanin became scorched and the trees died.

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Seventy-seven trees representing 41 hazelnut (Corylus avellana L.) genotypes were to evaluate variance components and broad-sense heritability for 10 nut and kernel traits from 1994 to 1996. All effects in the models were assumed to be random. All traits had extremely high heritability. This indicated that nearly all of the phenotypic variation had a genetic basis. Knowledge of variance components may help us efficiently allocate resources. Broad-sense heritability estimates were larger than those in narrow sense, suggesting the presence of nonadditive genetic variation in the population.

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The cutleaf hazelnut [Corylus avellana L. f. heterophylla (Loud.) Rehder] is an ornamental form with strongly dissected leaf morphology. Its stigmas express incompatibility allele S20 but none of the other 25 S-alleles was detected with fluorescence microscopy. Three seedlings from a cross of the cutleaf hazelnut and VR6-28 lacked S20 and were investigated further. Each expressed an allele from the parent VR6-28 (S2 S26), S26 in OSU 562.031 and OSU 562.048 and S2 in OSU 562.049. S2 and S26 are low in the dominance hierarchy, so we expected the new allele from the cutleaf hazelnut to be expressed in their pollen. Unexpectedly, fluorescence microscopy showed that pollen of all three selections was compatible on their cutleaf parent and on each other, and furthermore, self-pollinations showed the excellent germination and long parallel tubes in the styles that are typical of a compatible pollination. Controlled self- and cross-pollinations in the field verified the self-compatibility of two selections. Cluster set for self-pollinations was very high (75-90%) and within the range observed for compatible cross-pollinations. Furthermore, the frequency of blank nuts was low (<10%). The second allele in the cutleaf hazelnut is designated S28, and its presence in seedlings of `Cutleaf' is indicated by the absence of S20. Controlled pollinations in the field also showed that selection OSU 562.069 (S2 S28) from the cross `Cutleaf' × `Redleaf #3' was self-compatible. Fluorescence microscopy showed that two additional seedlings were self-incompatible [OSU 367.052 (S1 S28) and OSU 367.076 (S6 S28)] while a third [OSU 706.071 (S9 S28)] was self-compatible. Self-compatibility may be limited to genotypes that combine S28 with a second allele that is low in the dominance hierarchy.

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The cutleaf hazelnut [Corylus avellana L. f. heterophylla (Loud.) Rehder] is grown as an ornamental for its distinct leaf shape. Its leaves are slightly smaller, more deeply lobed, and more sharply toothed than those of standard hazelnut cultivars. When the cutleaf hazelnut was crossed with cultivars with normal leaves, all seedlings had normal leaves. When seedlings were backcrossed to their cutleaf parent, half of the seedlings expressed the cutleaf trait, and when crossed with each other in pairs, 25% of the seedlings were cutleaf. These segregation ratios indicate that the cutleaf trait is conferred by a single recessive gene for which the symbol cf is proposed. Progenies segregating simultaneously for leaf shape and color indicate that the cutleaf locus is independent of the locus controlling red leaf color and of the locus controlling a chlorophyll deficiency, which appears to be identical to that previously observed in seedlings of `Barcelona'.

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U.S. hazelnut production, concentrated in Oregon, is threatened by eastern filbert blight and all currently grown cultivars are susceptible. Resistant cultivars offer the best control method. Field screening for resistance takes 2 years for symptom expression. The goal of this study was to develop a rapid and reliable screen; to confirm that resistance in `Gasaway' is conferred by a single dominant gene: and to investigate inheritance in seedlings of the resistant cultivar `Gem'. Nine controlled crosses made in 1987 and 1988 were screened in the greenhouse in 1992 and 1993. Three trees of each genotype were inoculated and scored for presence or absence of the fungus using either stained tissue sections or ELISA within 6 to 12 months. Progenies of `Vancouver Resistant' parents (resistant progeny of `Gasaway') segregated 1 resistant: 1 susceptible and from resistant × resistant parents segregated 3 resistant:1 susceptible in agreement with the single gene hypothesis. Seedlings of `Gem' were all susceptible.

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