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  • Author or Editor: Eduardo D. Munaiz x
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Onion (Allium cepa) plants with lower amounts of epicuticular waxes on foliage suffer less damage from the insect pest Thrips tabaci (onion thrips). Glossy onion accumulates significantly less epicuticular wax compared with wild-type “waxy” onion, and a single recessive locus (gl) has been proposed to condition this phenotype. Genetic analyses of types and amounts of epicuticular waxes were completed using two segregating families from the cross of the glossy inbreds B9885 and B9897 (both originally selected from the onion cultivar White Persian) with waxy inbred B8667 and semiglossy (intermediate amounts of waxes) inbred B5351, respectively. F2 progenies were grown in greenhouses and scored visually for foliar phenotypes, and amounts and types of epicuticular waxes were determined using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GCMS). For one F2 family from the cross of glossy B9885 by waxy B8667, visually scored glossy vs. waxy foliage fit a 1:3 ratio and the phenotype mapped to chromosome 8 of onion. This same region on chromosome 8 was significantly associated with amounts of the ketone hentriacontanone-16 (H16) and fatty alcohols 1-octacosanol (Oct1) and 1-triacontanol (Tri1). Visually scored F2 progeny from the cross of glossy B9897 × semiglossy B5351 did not fit expected models for one or two recessive loci. Significant quantitative trait loci (QTL) were revealed on chromosomes 5 and 8 controlling amounts of H16. Epistasis was detected between regions on chromosomes 1 and 8, and a 100-fold increase of H16 was conditioned by homozygous genotypes for the B5351 region on chromosome 1 and the B9885 region on chromosome 8. The three QTL model explained 41% of the phenotypic variation for amounts of H16 at logarithm of odds of 16.6. Amounts of Oct1 and Tri1 in the B9897 × B5351 family were associated with a major QTL on chromosome 1, explaining 37% to 46% of the phenotypic variation, respectively. This research demonstrates that glossy foliage of ‘White Persian’ onion is conditioned by a recessive locus on chromosome 8 for which we propose the name gl wp . These results are important for selection of onion with unique profiles of epicuticular waxes to reduce losses resulting from onion thrips.

Open Access

Onion thrips (Thrips tabaci) is the main insect pest of onion (Allium cepa), and feeding damage routinely causes serious yield losses. Lower amounts of epicuticular waxes on onion leaves have been associated with fewer onion thrips and less feeding damage, and research is needed to assess the relationships between amounts and composition of epicuticular waxes and feeding damage by onion thrips. This study used gas chromatography mass spectroscopy to determine amounts and types of epicuticular waxes on the foliage of onion accessions that had been field-selected for lower damage from onion thrips. Hentriacontanone-16 (H16), octaconasol-1, and triacontanol-1 were the most prevalent waxes on the foliage of these selections. Amounts of H16 were significantly lower on selections visually classified as having glossy or semiglossy foliage. Semiglossy selections were identified with similar amounts of total epicuticular wax as waxy phenotypes, due primarily to lower amounts of H16 and higher amounts of other waxes. These semiglossy selections suffered significantly less feeding damage from onion thrips in a field evaluation, supporting the identification of unique wax profiles toward the development of thrips-resistant onion.

Open Access

The amounts and types of epicuticular waxes on onion (Allium cepa) leaves affect the severity of feeding damage by onion thrips (Thrips tabaci), a serious insect pest of onion. Onion plants with light green leaves are referred to as “glossy” and accumulate less epicuticular wax relative to the blue–green (“waxy”) foliage of wild-type onion. The onion cultivar Odourless Greenleaf (OGL) has visually glossy foliage, shows resistance to thrips feeding damage, and has the unique profile of accumulating waxes with 28 or fewer carbons. Plants of glossy OGL were crossed with the glossy inbred B9885 and waxy inbred lines DH2107, DH066619, and B8667. Hybrid progenies from glossy OGL by waxy plants had waxy foliage, indicating recessiveness of the glossy OGL phenotype relative to the waxy phenotype. Hybrids from the cross of glossy OGL with glossy B9885 were also waxy, revealing different genetic bases for the glossy phenotype in these two onions. Hybrid plants were self-pollinated and segregations in F2 families from OGL × waxy crosses fit the expected 3:1 ratio for the single locus at which the homozygous recessive genotype conditions glossy foliage. Segregations in F2 families from crosses of glossy 9885 × glossy OGL fit the 9:7 ratio, supporting two independently segregating loci, where the recessive genotype at either locus conditions the glossy phenotype. Amounts and types of epicuticular waxes on leaves of F2 progenies from crosses of OGL × waxy B8667 and glossy B9885 × OGL were determined using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Single-nucleotide polymorphisms were genotyped and genetic maps were constructed. The visually glossy phenotype from OGL and its unique profile of epicuticular waxes were conditioned by one locus on chromosome 6, for which we propose the name gl ogl . Onion populations such as OGL with unique epicuticular wax profiles will be important germplasms for the development of onion cultivars that suffer less feeding damage from onion thrips compared with waxy onion.

Open Access