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  • Author or Editor: Angela M. Baldo x
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Broccoli (Brassica oleracea L. var. italica Plenck) and cauliflower (B. oleracea var. botrytis DC) are closely related botanical varieties. The underlying genetic bases of their phenotypic differences from each other are not well understood. A molecular genetic marker enabling B. oleracea germplasm curators and breeders to predict phenotype from seeds or seedlings would be a valuable tool. Mutant alleles at flower developmental pathway loci BoAP1-a, Bo-CAL-a, and glucosinolate biosynthetic pathway locus BoGSL-ELONG have been reported to be associated with a cauliflower phenotype. We surveyed mutant alleles at these three loci in a genetically diverse sample of broccoli and cauliflower accessions from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) Plant Genetic Resources Unit (PGRU) and the University of Warwick, Genetic Resources Unit of Warwick HRI (HRI). Phenotypic and genotypic data were collected for multiple plants per accession during two field seasons. Simple genetic models assuming dominance or codominance of alleles were analyzed. Goodness-of-fit tests rejected the null model that the mutant genotype was associated with a cauliflower phenotype. A correlation analysis showed that BoAP1-a and BoCAL-a alleles or loci were significantly correlated with phenotype but the fraction of variation explained was low, 4.4% to 6.3%. Adding BoGSL-ELONG to the analysis improved predictive power using the linear regression procedure, Maximum R-square Improvement (max R 2). In the best three-variable model, only 24.8% of observed phenotypic variation was explained. Because tested genetic models did not hold robustly for the surveyed accessions, it is likely that there are multiple genetic mechanisms that influence whether the phenotype is broccoli or cauliflower. Our results in commercial cultivars indicate that other genetic mechanisms are more important in determining the horticultural type than are BoAP1-a and BoCAL-a.

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