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P.G. Gibson and G.L. Reighard

Peach trees exposed to `Ta Tao' vegetative chip bud grafts have been shown to have physiological changes that include bloom delay, delayed maturity, reduced shoot vigor, and early autumn defoliation. `Ta Tao' is known to be infected with the graft transmissible agent Peach Latent Mosaic Viroid (PLMVd). PLMVd has been associated with bloom delay and reduced shoot vigor. `Coronet' peach trees planted in a high-density, Y-trained orchard system were treated with vegetative chip buds from `Ta Tao'. Transmission of PLMVd was confirmed in the treated trees by cRNA probe hybridization. A shoot forcing study was set up to determine if exposure to `Ta Tao' would alter the chilling requirement of `Coronet' peach. Terminal fruiting shoots were collected periodically during the dormant season from 8 Jan. 1999 to 19 Feb. 1999, which represented a range of chill hour accumulation from 574 to 927, respectively. Shoots were forced in a greenhouse, and chilling requirement was considered complete when 50% of the flowers opened. Chilling requirement was not changed by exposure to `Ta Tao' chip buds. The number of days required for shoots to bloom was significantly and consistently longer for the `Ta Tao' treated trees. The number of shoots responding to forcing conditions was significantly less in the treated trees. The data suggest that the graft transmissible effects from `Ta Tao' buds increased the growing degree hours required for `Coronet' leaf and flower bud emergence after rest completion under greenhouse forcing conditions.

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Philip G. Gibson and Gregory L. Reighard

Peach [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch (Peach Group)] trees bloom in response to chilling and postrest heat accumulation. The peach cultivar Coronet exposed to a graft-transmissible, infectious agent known as peach latent mosaic viroid (PLMVd) blooms at a different time than noninoculated trees of the same cultivar. To determine if chilling requirements differed between trees inoculated with PLMVd and noninoculated controls, fruiting shoots collected from the orchard and artificially chilled containerized trees were forced in a greenhouse. Additional artificially chilled containerized trees were forced under constant temperatures in growth chambers to determine if postrest heat accumulation requirements differed. There was no difference in the chilling requirement of the fruiting shoots collected from the field although the shoots exposed to PLMVd had a delayed response and fewer responded to greenhouse forcing conditions. The containerized trees also showed no differences in chilling requirements during winter 1999 or 2000. Trees inoculated with PLMVd had a significant delay in bloom. Growth chamber data revealed a significantly higher base temperature for heat accumulation in the PLMVd inoculated trees.

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Zhen-Xiang Lu, G.L. Reighard, W.V. Baird, and A.G. Abbott

Cluster analyses of 20 peach rootstocks by 40 RAPD markers produced a dendrogram of genetic relationship in good agreement with their putative pedigrees. BY520-9, BY520-8, SL1089, and SL1090, which are selections derived from a common ancestor, clustered together, with the normalized average distance (NAD) ranging from 0.20 to 0.55. Similarly, the clustering of Lovell with Halford and Boone County with Harrow Blood, whose respective NADs were 0.19 and 0.22, implied a high degree of genetic relatedness between each pair of genotypes. Okinawa and Yunnan, both introduced from eastern Asia, tied in a close group (NAD = 0.63) and share relatively similar phenotypes. The first major bifurcation in the dendrogram divided the 20 rootstocks into two groups. One group (Lovell, Halford, Montclar, Bailey, Harrow Blood, Boone County, Tennessee Natural, and GF 305) is susceptible to root-knot nematodes, whereas the second group (BY520-9, BY520-8, SL1089, SL1090, Higama, Nemaguard, Flordaguard, Yunnan, Okinawa, and Nemared), with the exception of Rubira and Siberian C, is tolerant or resistant.

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Zhen-Xiang Lu, G.L. Reighard, W.V. Baird, A.G. Abbott, and S. Rajapakse

Eighteen peach rootstock cultivars, most of Prunus persica (L.) Batsch, were screened for diagnostic random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) markers using synthetic decamer oligonucleotide primers. Twenty of the 80 primers were informative, and 40 amplified DNA bands from the informative primers were selected as RAPD markers. Based on combined banding patterns, all 18 rootstock cultivars were identified with only six of the 20 informative primers. Cluster analysis of the 18 peach rootstock cultivars using 40 RAPD markers produced a dendrogram of genetic relatedness in good agreement with their putative pedigrees. The first major bifurcation in the dendrogram divided these rootstock cultivars into two groups according to their resistance or susceptibility to root-knot nematodes [Meloidogyne incognita (Kofoid and White) Chitwood and M. javanica (Treub) Chitwood].

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T.G. Beckman, G.L. Reighard, A.P. Nyczepir, and W.R. Okie

Thirteen rootstocks grafted with Redhaven peach were established on a severe peach tree short-life (PTSL) site in central Georgia. Most rootstocks tested were peach seedling types: Lovell, Nemaguard, Guardian (BY520-9), BY520-8, Boone County, Bailey and two `Tennessee Natural' selections. A seedling plum rootstock, St. Julian, was also used. Clonal type rootstocks included a peach × almond hybrid, GF677; plum, GF43 and Damas 1869; and a plum hybrid, GF655-2. Trees on Guardian displayed the best survival with only 20% mortality due to PTSL, through 7 years. In contrast, 40% of trees on Lovell succumbed to PTSL. Currently, Lovell is the recommended rootstock for PTSL-prone sites. Other rootstocks ranged from 50% to 100% mortality due to PTSL. Trees on Guardian displayed significantly higher vigor through the first 4 years following planting compared to trees on Lovell. Furthermore, trees on Guardian produced significantly greater yields than those on Lovell, in all but 1 year. Rootstock effects on tree survival, vigor, bloom and harvest dates, fruit yield and size, and suckering will be discussed.

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Douglas G. Bielenberg, Ying Wang, Gregory L. Reighard, and Albert G. Abbott

`Evergrowing' (evg) peach is a naturally occurring mutant unable to enter winter dormancy in response to dormancy inducing conditions. The evg mutant is one of only two described mutants affecting winter dormancy in woody perennial trees. The evg mutation segregates as a single recessive gene and previous work by our group has fine mapped the trait between flanking markers separated by 3.3 centiMorgans. This region was physically mapped using a bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) library from and a contig of overlapping genomic fragments identified. We have utilized several approaches to complete the sequencing of a 132 kilobase region of the peach genome derived from three overlapping BACs that encompass the complete EVG gene containing region. We present here our analysis and annotation of the genomic region, including putative and experimentally verified gene coding sequences. A primary feature of the region is a large tandem duplication of a region containing a MADS-box type DNA binding transcription factor resulting in six similar copies of the gene, all of which appear to be expressed at the mRNA level in wild-type germplasm. Hybridization analysis revealed the presence of a large deletion in the mutant genome. Five of the identified genes fall within the evg mutation and represent new candidates for the control of entrance into winter dormancy.

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Ying Wang, Laura L. George, Gregory L. Reighard, Ralph Scorza, and Albert G. Abbott

Evergreen genotypes of peach [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch] have been identified in Mexico, where terminal growth on evergreen trees is continuous under favorable environmental conditions. This evergreen trait in peach is controlled by one single gene (evg), and this evergreen condition is homozygous recessive. Four dominant AFLP markers, EAT/MCAC, ETT/MCCA2, EAT/MCTA, and ETT/MACC, were found to be tightly linked to the evg locus at 1 cM, 4.6 cM, 5.8 cM, and 11 cM, respectively. All four markers were sequenced and identified. A peach BAC library was constructed by using the pBeloBAC11 vector for building the physical map for the evg gene. This library represents four times the coverage of the peach genome with the average insert size of 50 to 70 kb. The EAT/MCAC AFLP marker fragment was used for screening the peach BAC library. A single BAC clone, 18F12, was confirmed to contain this fragment. The final BAC contig for this evg gene region and the potential homology between peach and Arabidopsis thaliana will be presented and discussed.

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Philip G. Gibson, Gregory L. Reighard, Gary L. Powell, and Thomas C. Jenkins

Graft-transmissible agents found in `Ta Tao 5' peach have been associated with phenological changes, including delay in bloom, reduced shoot vigor, and early autumn defoliation. Peach Latent Mosaic Viroid (PLMVd) is present as a graft-transmissible agent in `Ta Tao 5'. In order to further characterize the changes occurring in trees exposed to PLMVd from `Ta Tao 5' grafts, total fatty acid content was measured for peach buds during chilling accumulation and release from dormancy in `Coronet' peach trees and `Coronet' trees treated with `Ta Tao 5' bud grafts. Palmitic (16:0), stearic (18:0), oleic (18:1), linoleic (18:2), and linolenic (18:3) acids were the major fatty acids in dormant and releasing peach buds of both the controls and treated trees. The degree of unsaturation increased immediately following completion of chilling requirement in both the untreated controls and in the treated trees. However, the desaturation of linoleic acid to linolenic acid was significantly inhibited in the trees treated with `Ta Tao 5' bud grafts, which was accompanied by a concomitant delay in the resumption of growth. The disparity between the control and treated trees in the trend toward increased fatty acid unsaturation continued through the resumption of growth. The changes in degree of fatty acid saturation correlated with a response to forcing conditions and the release from dormancy. The presence of PLMVd in `Coronet' peach trees affects membrane fatty acid saturation during chilling accumulation and dormancy release. These findings suggest that metabolic pathways involving fatty acid desaturation are linked to the phenotypic variation in trees exposed to PLMVd.

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Philip G. Gibson, Gregory L. Reighard, Gary L. Powell, and Thomas C. Jenkins

Peach [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch (Peach Group)] trees infected with peach latent mosaic viroid (PLMVd) have been associated with phenological changes including delay in bloom, reduced shoot vigor, and early autumn defoliation. In order to further characterize the changes occurring in trees inoculated with PLMVd, total fatty acid content was measured for floral buds during release from dormancy in `Coronet' peach trees. Palmitic (16:0), stearic (18:0), oleic (18:1), linoleic (18:2), and linolenic (18:3) acids were the major fatty acids in dormant and releasing peach buds of both control and PLMVd-inoculated (VI) trees. The degree of unsaturation increased immediately following release from dormancy in both the control and VI trees. However, desaturation of linoleic acid to linolenic acid was significantly inhibited in VI trees, which was accompanied by a concomitant delay in the resumption of growth. The disparity between the control and VI trees in the progression of increased fatty acid unsaturation continued through petal fall. The presence of PLMVd in `Coronet' peach trees slowed membrane fatty acid desaturation during release from dormancy and suggested that metabolic pathways involving fatty acid desaturation were linked to the delayed phenology of the VI trees.

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Zhen-Xiang Lu, Gregory L. Reighard, Andrew P. Nyczepir, Thomas G. Beckman, and David W. Ramming

Two F1 hybrid Prunus rootstocks, K62-68 and P101-41, developed from a cross of `Lovell' [susceptible to both Meloidogyne incognita (Kofoid and White) Chitwood and M. javanica (Treub) Chitwood] and `Nemared' (resistant to both root-knot nematode species), were selfed to produce two F2 seedling populations. Vegetative propagation by herbaceous stem cuttings was used to produce four or eight self-rooted plants of each F2 seedling for treatment replications. Eggs of M. incognita and M. javanica were inoculated into the potted media where plants were transplanted, and plants were harvested and roots examined for signs and symptoms associated with root-knot nematode infection ≈120 days later. Segregation ratios in both F2 families suggested that resistance to M. incognita in `Nemared' is controlled by two dominant genes (Mi and Mij) and that to M. javanica by a single dominant gene (Mij). Thus, Mij conveys resistance to both M. incognita and M. javanica.