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Santiago Vilanova, Carlos Romero, Gerardo Llácer, María Luisa Badenes, and Lorenzo Burgos

This report shows the PCR-based identification of the eight known self-(in)compatibility alleles (S 1 to S 7 and S c) of apricot (Prunus armeniaca L.). Two sets of consensus primers, designed from P. armeniaca S-RNase genomic sequences and sweet cherry (P. avium L.) S-RNase-cDNAs, were used to amplify fragments containing the first and the second S-RNase intron, respectively. When the results obtained from the two PCRs were combined, all S-alleles could be distinguished. The identity of the amplified S-alleles was verified by sequencing the first intron and 135 base pairs (bp) of the second exon. The deduced amino acid sequences of these fragments showed the presence of the C1 and C2 Prunus L. S-RNase conserved regions. These results allowed us to confirm S-genotypes previously assigned by stylar ribonuclease analyses and to propose one self-(in)compatibility group (I) and one universal donor group (O) containing unique S-genotypes and self-compatible cultivars (SC). This PCR-based typing system also facilitates the identification of the S c-allele and might be a very useful tool for predicting self-compatibility in apricot breeding progenies.

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Samantha Jay Forbes, Guiliana Mustiga, Alberto Romero, Tobin David Northfield, Smilja Lambert, and Juan Carlos Motamayor

Artificial pollination management strategies are a potential solution to improving the livelihoods of smallholder cacao farmers by increasing crop productivity in situations when pollination services are limiting. However, field-based research trials evaluating the yield benefits of artificial pollination management strategies within intensified cacao systems are lacking. Thus, in an intensively managed cacao system, we evaluated the effects of artificial pollination condition (i.e., pollen genotype, pollination intensity, and pollination synchrony) on fruit development and yield in three high-yielding cacao clones. Artificial pollination, regardless of intensity, significantly increased fruit set and yield. Pollination synchrony had a significant effect on cherelle survivorship; older cherelles had greater survival rates across all developmental stages than younger cherelles. Yield differed between genotype crosses and varied according to the pollen donor used, highlighting the importance of understanding self- and cross-compatibility when selecting clones for cultivation. Pollination intensity had no significant effect on harvested yield, indicating that more rigorous research is needed to identify the pollination intensity required for optimized yield under artificial pollination conditions. We conclude that strategies to enhance flowering, pollination rates, and pollination synchrony while ensuring adequate tree nutrition may increase productivity in cacao. Future research evaluating numerous cacao clones across multiple years and locations may help us to understand the region-specific effects of intensive management strategies on the long-term sustainability of enhancing cacao tree productivity.