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Arthur Q. Villordon and Don R. LaBonte

Our research examined whether plants originating from adventitious sprouts from fleshy sweetpotato roots are genetically more variable than plants that arise from pre-existing meristematic regions, i.e., nodes. Our study compared one plant each of `Jewel', `Sumor', and L87-95 clonally propagated for seven generations both nodally and through adventitious sprouts. PCR-based analysis of 60 samples (10 nodal and 10 adventitiously derived plants/genotype) showed 20% polymorphism among adventitious materials vs. 6% among nodally derived plants. An “analysis of molecular variance” showed that differences between propagation methods accounted for 30% of the total marker variability. Our results support previous findings that, relative to non-meristematic materials, meristematic regions strictly control cell division and DNA synthesis that exclude DNA duplication and other irregularities.

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Arthur Q. Villordon and Don R. LaBonte

Polymorphism analysis and yield tests were conducted among `Jewel' sweetpotato clones [Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam] obtained from eight state foundation seed programs. Initially, 38 arbitrary primers generated a total of 110 scorable DNA fragments in a sample of virus-indexed plants from each clone source. The number of marker loci scored for each primer varied from one to eight with an average of 2.89. Twenty-one bands (19.1%) were scored as putative polymorphic markers based on the presence or absence of amplified products. Further estimation of variability within each clone source was accomplished by an assay of 10 sample plants per clone group by 14 marker loci generated by four selected primers. Polymorphic bands ranged from 7.1% to 35.7 % in five of eight clone groups. Field studies show variation in nearly all yield grades measured. In three tests during the 1991 and 1992 seasons, yield differences ranged from 27% to 46% within the economically important U.S. no. 1 root grade. The results suggest the usefulness of arbitrarily-primed markers in detecting intra-clonal sweetpotato DNA polymorphisms and indicate an underlying genetic cause for phenotypic variability in the crop.

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Arthur Q. Villordon and Don R. LaBonte

Genetic uniformity was assessed among sweetpotato (Ipomoea batatas) clones propagated through adventitious and nodal procedures. A single sprout each of `Jewel,' `Sumor,' and L87-95 was used as source of clonal plants that were simultaneously propagated through conventional adventitious procedures and a tissue culture-based nodal culture technique. A sample of 15 decamer primers generated 64 scorable amplified fragments in a PCR-based assay, 29 of which were putatively polymorphic across n = 60 samples (10 each of nodal and adventitiously derived plants/genotype). Within adventitiously derived materials, putative polymorphisms ranged from 4.7% to 31.3% depending on the genotypic class. In contrast, putative polymorphisms ranged from 0.0% to 3.1% among nodally derived samples. Marker loci differentiated genotypes as well as putative marker phenotype variants through a multidimensional scaling analysis of the genetic similarity matrix. An `analysis of molecular variance' shows that genotypic effects accounted for 88.7% of the total molecular marker variability, while propagation effects (within genotypic groups) accounted for 11.3%. Results confirm that clonal plants derived from preexisting meristematic regions are more genetically uniform than plants propagated from adventitious origins.

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Arthur Q. Villordon and Don R. LaBonte

Clonal propagation assures the maintenance of genetic purity of a sweetpotato variety. The existence of foundation seed programs further contributes to the conservation of favorable genetic constitution in a commercial cultivar. However, the improvement of current maintenance procedures is necessary as shown by the occurrence of mutations and the decline of certain commercial varieties. Information on the nature and extent of changes in sweetpotato would therefore be useful in this regard.

`Jewel' clones obtained from eight state foundation seed programs were subjected to yield tests and a RAPD-based assay. Differences in nearly all yield grades were detected during the 1991, 1992, and 1993 seasons. The yield of U.S. No. 1 grade roots varied from 27% to 46%. The quality factors measured also varied: % alcohol insoluble solids varied by 13%, while sucrose ranged from 9.6% to 19%. Total DNA was extracted from each clone and assayed against 40 primers. All primers produced amplified fragments. A total of 110 reproducible bands was generated by 38 primers. Putative polymorphic markers were scored in 21 (18.58%) of these bands based on the presence or absence of amplified products. The results suggest an underlying cause for the variability observed in phenotypic traits within sweetpotato clones.

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Don R. La Bonte, Christopher A. Clark, Tara P. Smith, Arthur Q. Villordon and C. Scott Stoddard

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Arthur Q. Villordon, Don R. La Bonte, Nurit Firon, Yanir Kfir, Etan Pressman and Amnon Schwartz

Adventitious roots of ‘Beauregard’ and ‘Georgia Jet’ sweetpotato were observed and anatomically characterized over a period of 60 days of storage root development. The majority of ‘Beauregard’ and ‘Georgia Jet’ adventitious roots sampled at 5 to 7 days after transplanting (DAT) possessed anatomical features (five or more protoxylem elements) associated with storage root development. The majority of ‘Beauregard’ (86%) and ‘Georgia Jet’ (89%) storage roots sampled at 60 to 65 DAT were traced directly to adventitious roots extant at 5 to 7 DAT. The two varieties, however, differed in the timing in which regular and anomalous cambia were formed. Regular vascular cambium development, i.e., initiation and completion, was observed in both varieties at 19 to 21 DAT. Formation of complete regular vascular cambium was negligible for ‘Beauregard’ (4%) in comparison with ‘Georgia Jet’ (32%) at 26 to 28 DAT. However, anomalous cambia development adjacent to xylem elements was greater in ‘Beauregard’ (30%) in comparison with ‘Georgia Jet’ (13%). Nearly 40% to 50% of samples in both varieties showed extensive lignification in the stele region. At 32 to 35 DAT, 62% to 70% of the adventitious roots for both varieties had either been initiated (developed anomalous cambium) or were lignified. The remaining adventitious roots showed intermediate stages of vascular cambium development. The adventitious root count increased up to 19 to 21 DAT and then remained constant up to 32 to 35 DAT. These accumulated results suggest that the initial stages of adventitious root development are critical in determining storage root set in sweetpotato.

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Don R. La Bonte, Christopher A. Clark, Tara P. Smith and Arthur Q. Villordon

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Don R. La Bonte, Christopher A. Clark, Tara P. Smith and Arthur Q. Villordon

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Edward W. Bush, Don R. LaBonte, Ann L. Gray and Arthur Q. Villordon

Production of disease-free sweetpotato [Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam.] transplants is of major importance to certified and foundation seed programs and producers. Sweetpotato roots are traditionally planted and cuttings are harvested from propagation beds. The objective of this study was to investigate the efficiency of producing cuttings in nursery containers. Virus-tested and virus-infected `Beauregard' sweetpotato transplants were harvested from planting beds for the purpose of producing cuttings for transplants. Cuttings were established in 3.7-L plastic nursery containers filled with 100% pine bark amended with either low, medium, or high rates of Osmocote 14-14-14 and dolomitic lime. Resulting transplants produced a greater number of cuttings and greater plant biomass with higher fertilizer rates. Increasing fertilizer rates also had a positive effect on cutting production and biomass. Dry weight and stem growth were similar for both virus-infected and virus-tested transplants following first and second harvests. Producing foundation cuttings in nursery containers filled with a pine bark medium proved to be an efficient method of increasing virus-tested sweetpotato cuttings.

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Don R. La Bonte, Christopher A. Clark, Tara P. Smith, Arthur Q. Villordon and C. Scott Stoddard