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  • Author or Editor: Chunxian Chen x
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A trio of peach cultivars, Crimson Joy, Liberty Joy, and Rich Joy, have been recently released by the US Department of Agriculture breeding program at Byron, GA. They ripen at Byron in early to mid-June, late June to early July, and mid-July, respectively. Additional data on their fruit development are needed to understand the ripening process and optimize harvest timing. This study was designed to measure and compare characteristics of ripening fruit harvested weekly from the three Joy cultivars in two trial orchards. Fruit characteristics were significantly different among the three cultivars, the trial locations, and the harvest weeks. Difference in the five size-related characteristics (fruit weight, flesh weight, pit weight, and equatorial and polar diameters) and soluble solid content (SSC) were statistically significant among the three cultivars. ‘Crimson Joy’ had the smallest averages in the size-related characteristics and ‘Rich Joy’ fruit had the largest. ‘Liberty Joy’ had the firmest fruit and least juice volume and blush rating value at maturation. Trees in the commercial block produced larger fruit than those in the Byron research block. Differences among the harvests were statistically significant for all the fruit characteristics, suggesting that the peach fruit experienced dramatic changes as ripening progressed. The weights and diameters, juice volumes, and SSC continued to increase in the harvests although with reduced firmness. Correlation coefficients varied greatly between these fruit characteristics along with R 2 and P values. The highest positive correlations were observed among fruit weight, equatorial diameter, polar diameter, and flesh weight. Pit weight was positively correlated with them to a lesser extent. Firmness showed substantial negative correlations with several characteristics, including three weights, two diameters, juice volume, SSC, and blush rating value. SSC and titratable acidity were also negatively correlated. The data confirmed that peach fruit continued to size while ripening and should be useful to determine appropriate harvest timing, which could differ for commercial packing vs. roadside sales.

Open Access

Several available Prunus chloroplast genomes have not been exploited to develop polymorphic chloroplast microsatellites that could be useful in Prunus phylogenetic analysis and maternal lineage group (MLG) categorization. In this study, using available bioinformatics tools, 80, 75, and 78 microsatellites were identified from the chloroplast genome of P. persica (CPpe), P. kansuensis (CPka), and P. mume (CPmu), respectively. The genome features and polymorphism status of these microsatellites were characterized. The genomic locations and motif types of most chloroplast microsatellites were conserved in CPpe, CPka, and CPmu. Of the 67 microsatellites with primer sequences and names, 57 were polymorphic for their in silico motif, amplicon lengths, or both among the three genomes. Based on the genotyping data of eight most polymorphic microsatellites, eight unique MLGs were found among the 736 peach materials in a breeding program. Most peach cultivars (111 of 161 genotyped) belong to MLG-1, the Chinese Cling-derived group reflecting the heavy use of this germplasm in early peach development. Forty-one cultivars belong to MLG-2, the European-derived group of peaches. MLG-3 consists of ornamental accessions. MLG-4 and MLG-5 contain only ‘Flordaking’ and ‘Reliance’, respectively. MLG-6 to MLG-8 consists of selections derived from P. tangutica, P. davidiana, and P. mira, respectively. These amplicons from the representative material for each MLG were sequenced, revealing additional single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) within the amplicons. With the polymorphism status and amplification reliability validated, these new polymorphic chloroplast microsatellite markers may be useful in Prunus phylogenetic analysis.

Free access

Several new peach (Prunus persica) flower types were discovered in an F2 segregating population from an open-pollinated, non-showy-flowered F1 seedling of ‘Helen Borchers’, a double-flowered ornamental cultivar. The novel flower types were white and red single-flowered, non-showy blooms, as well as double-flowered, non-showy red, pink, white, and yellow phenotypes. The double, non-showy flowers were very attractive, and resembled pom-pom chrysanthemums. Yellow flower color is unknown in peach. Flower type in the F2 family segregated ≈3:1 for non-showy (Sh_) vs. showy (shsh), for anthocyanin-present vs. anthocyanin-absent, and for pink (R_) vs. red (rr), independently. Flower petal number segregated at about 9:3:4 for classes single:semi-double:double. Although both parents were late flowering, the F1 was not. The F2 seedlings showed a wide range in time of flowering. Higher petal number was correlated with later bloom, although it is unclear whether this is due to linkage or developmental differences in the flowers with extra petals. These novel flower types might be useful as ornamentals, and for use in genetics and breeding studies. Microsatellite analysis of possible pollen donors revealed that ‘Oldmixon Free’, a non-showy-flowered peach cultivar, was likely the pollen parent of the F1.

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Peach (Prunus persica) cultivars maintained at the U.S. Department of Agriculture program at Byron, GA, have never been characterized with any molecular markers. In this study, 20 microsatellite markers were used to genotype 112 cultivars and the data were analyzed to discern their population structure and phylogenetic relationships. STRUCTURE simulations revealed four K clusters and broad genetic admixture among the cultivars. Principal coordinate analysis (PCoA) showed the cultivar groups from western, northeastern, and southeastern U.S. states were adjacent to each other except cultivars from Michigan (close to most southeastern state groups) and Florida (most distant from the other groups). Principal component analysis (PCA) showed that these cultivars had no obvious PCA partitioning boundaries. The intertwined distribution in both PCoA and PCA partitions suggested many of them were genetically closely related to each other largely because most shared same ancestral parentages. Most pairwise distance means within and between the cultivar groups were relatively low, suggesting close phylogenetic relations among those cultivars, as were demonstrated in the phylogenetic tree. Limiting factors and perspectives relevant to peach breeding are discussed.

Open Access

Abstract

A rootstock collection of Prunus species and hybrids is maintained at the U.S. Department of Agriculture stone fruit breeding program at Byron, GA. We genotyped 66 Prunus rootstock accessions and clones using chloroplast and nuclear microsatellites in this study. Chloroplast microsatellites revealed that the accessions belong to four previously defined maternal lineage groups (MLG-1 to -4) and five new ones (MLG-9 to -13). MLG-1 and -2 share the same chloroplast alleles of ‘Chinese Cling’ peach (Prunus persica) derived scions and American scions and rootstocks related to early European introductions, respectively. MLG-3 included ‘Guardian’ rootstock and its descendants. MLG-4 had a single genotype, ‘Okinawa’, that is the maternal parent of ‘Flordaking’. MLG-9 and MLG-11 to -13 included hybrids with different plums (Prunus salicina, Prunus cerasifera, Prunus tomentosa, or Prunus angustifolia) in their maternal parentage. MLG-10 included hybrids from almond (Prunus. dulcis) in the maternal parentage. The neighbor-joining phylogenetic tree based on nuclear microsatellite genotyping data showed several clusters. Cluster I included only one scion cultivar Elberta from MLG-1. Clusters II, III, and V contained peach accessions mostly in MLG-2. Clusters IV and VI included accessions mostly in MLG-3. Cluster VII included most accessions of plum-peach hybrid origin and those found within MLG-13. Cluster VIII was found to be mixed with different plum-peach hybrids and hybrids from other Prunus species, most of which were found in MLG-10, -11, and -12. Most accessions in Cluster IX were related to plums in MLG-11 and a few accessions in MLG-9.

Open Access

Peach fruit set is affected by cumulative chill and spring frost. A spring frost occurred on 29 Mar. 2015 at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) Byron station after 3 weeks of bloom, reducing fruit set and resulting in many buttons (abnormally small fruit with dead embryos). Fruit set was rated in 2014, 2015, and 2016 and button set rated in 2015 using the same scale (0 = no fruit/button to 9 = 1–2 fruit/button at every node). The overall fruit set rating was substantially different in the 3 years, averaging 5.61 in 2014, 2.61 in 2015, and 6.04 in 2016. Buttons and skin-damaged fruit in 2015 varied among peach genotypes. Comparison of fruit and button set ratings showed that there was no difference between cultivars and selections, but some significant differences in fruit set for four ripening months, among the 3 years, and among the nine chilling classes, respectively. Among the cultivars, the most common button set rating was 0–3. For example, ‘Sunprince’, ‘Loring’, and ‘Carored’ trees had a high button set rating, whereas ‘Flameprince’, ‘Julyprince’, and ‘Contender’ trees were low. As for peach selections, BY04P1690n was among those with the highest button set rating. In the population derived from a cross of button-prone BY04P1690n and button-free BY99P3866w, fruit and button counts from 10 long fruiting shoots ranged from 4 to 53 fruit (21.63 on average) and 2 to 27 buttons (10.39 on average). The peach button rate ranged from 5.36% to 87.10% (30.70% on average). The range, distribution, and percentage of the button counts suggested that, if buttoning was genetically controlled, it appeared quantitative. Further assessment is needed.

Free access