Fruit set in sweet (Prunus avium L.) and sour cherry (P. cerasus L.) is frequently less than adequate for profitable production despite the availability of compatible pollen and abundant flowers. When fruit set consistently falls below acceptable levels, growers may attempt to increase fruit set by increasing the availability of compatible pollen. We describe the use of the self-incompatibility locus (S-locus) as a genetic marker to quantify the relative contributions of competing pollen sources in achieving fruit set in ‘Balaton™’ sour cherry. Pollen race experiments were conducted to determine if nonself-pollen provided in a pollen mixture was more competitive than self-pollen in achieving fruit set in ‘Balaton™’. We further investigated what pollen set the ‘Balaton™’ crop in two commercial ‘Balaton™’ orchards where multiple potential pollinators were planted in adjacent orchards. S-allele genotyping using DNA extracted from the seed was done to discriminate among the competing pollen sources. The results suggest that in certain environmental conditions, nonself-pollen may be more competitive in achieving fruit set in ‘Balaton™’ than self-pollen. These examples illustrate how seed genotyping can be used to further our understanding of the competitive abilities of different pollen sources in both controlled experiments and production orchards.
‘Bing’ is an iconic sweet cherry (Prunus avium L.) cultivar in the United States that even after more than 130 years of cultivation remains the most highly regarded dark sweet cherry and is the standard by which new sweet cherries are judged. ‘Bing’ has been repeatedly used as a parent in North American breeding programs and is found in the lineages of several important modern cultivars. The maternal parent of ‘Bing’ is reported to be ‘Black Republican’, an old cultivar commercially grown for fruit in the Willamette Valley, OR, after ≈1860 and now is usually only grown as a pollenizer cultivar; however, the paternal parent of ‘Bing’ is unknown. The objective of this study was to deduce the paternal parent of ‘Bing’ and validate the pedigree records for the relatives of ‘Bing’ using statistical algorithms that use genomewide single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) data. With a high probability, it was determined that the sweet cherry cultivar Napoleon, also known as Royal Ann in the Pacific northwestern United States, a large, firm, blush-type, light-fleshed, and productive cherry, is the paternal parent of ‘Bing’. This parentage deduction results in an increase in the known relatedness among U.S. cultivated sweet cherry breeding germplasm because ‘Napoleon’ is an important founder previously known to be present in the ancestry of every self-compatible sweet cherry cultivar bred to date, directly and through ‘Bing’ and its descendants.
The primary goal of this research was to evaluate the relative importance of strawberry fruit quality and plant traits to strawberry producers. Previous studies focus on strawberry traits that impact postharvest quality and marketable yield; however, studies emphasizing the importance of these traits to strawberry producers are scarce. To investigate U.S. strawberry producer trait preferences, a series of audience surveys were conducted at four strawberry producer meetings across the United States. Results indicate that fruit firmness, fruit flavor, and fruit shelf life at retail were the most important fruit/plant traits to producers for a successful strawberry cultivar to possess. Growing state and producers’ years involved in the decision-making process of strawberry farms impacted the relative importance of the fruit/plant traits. This study directly contributes to a larger investigation of supply chain members’ trait preferences to improve the efficiency of Rosaceae fruit crop breeding programs and to increase the likelihood of new cultivar adoption. The overall project should result in a more efficient approach to new strawberry cultivar development and commercialization.