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  • Author or Editor: J. Steven Brown x
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Early okra production was evaluated using `Clemson Spineless' transplants grown under clear polyethylene mulch plus VisPore row cover (VCM), black polyethylene mulch plus VisPore row cover (VBM), clear polyethylene mulch (CM), black polyethylene mulch (BM) and bare soil (BS) for two years. Early yield (1st four harvests in early June) was significantly greater for VCM treatment while total marketable yield at the end of 8 wks were significantly greater for VCM, BM, and VBM treatments, respectively in both years. Enterprise budget analysis showed that VCM and BM treatments had the highest net-return to management on a per acre basis.

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Early okra production was evaluated using `Clemson Spineless' transplants grown under clear polyethylene mulch plus VisPore row cover (VCM), black polyethylene mulch plus VisPore row cover (VBM), clear polyethylene mulch (CM), black polyethylene mulch (BM) and bare soil (BS) for two years. Early yield (1st four harvests in early June) was significantly greater for VCM treatment while total marketable yield at the end of 8 wks were significantly greater for VCM, BM, and VBM treatments, respectively in both years. Enterprise budget analysis showed that VCM and BM treatments had the highest net-return to management on a per acre basis.

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Almond [Prunus dulcis (Mill.) D.A. Webb] yields have increased substantially since the 1961 publication of the Univ. of California (UC) guidelines for leaf potassium (K). Numerous growers and reputable analytical laboratories are concerned that the recommendations for leaf K are inadequate. A highly productive almond orchard with low leaf K was selected to reassess the leaf K critical value of 1.1% to1.4% and determine the relative sensitivity of various yield determinants to inadequate K availability. Baseline yields for 100 individual trees were measured in 1998 and four rates of potassium sulfate were applied under drip irrigation emitters to establish a range of July leaf K concentrations between 0.5% and 2.1%. No relationship was observed between leaf K and post-treatment yield measurements made in 1999. We also monitored individual limb units on trees from the treatment extremes for effects of low K availability on flower number, percentage fruit set, fruit size, spur mortality, and vegetative growth (potential fruiting sites in subsequent years). Those measurements indicated that although current-year yield determinants (percentage fruit set and fruit size) were not influenced by K deficiency, components of future yield were impacted negatively by low K availability: mortality of existing fruiting spurs was increased by K deficiency and growth of fruiting wood was reduced.

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Mangifera indica L. germplasm can be classified by origin with the primary groups being cultivars selected from the centers of diversity for the species, India and Southeast Asia, and those selected in Florida and other tropical and subtropical locations. Accessions have also been classified by horticultural type: cultivars that produce monoembryonic seed vs. cultivars that produce polyembryonic seed. In this study, we used 25 microsatellite loci to estimate genetic diversity among 203 accessions. The 25 microsatellite loci had an average of 6.96 alleles per locus and an average PIC value of 0.552. The total propagation error in the collection, i.e., plants that had been incorrectly labeled or grafted, was estimated to be 6.13%. When compared by origin, the Florida cultivars were more closely related to Indian than to Southeast Asian cultivars. Unbiased gene diversity (Hnb) of 0.600 and 0.582 was found for Indian and Southeast Asian cultivars, respectively, and both were higher than Hnb among Florida cultivars (0.538). When compared by horticultural type, Hnb was higher among the polyembryonic types (0.596) than in the monoembryonic types (0.571). Parentage analysis of the Florida cultivars was accomplished using a multistage process based on introduction dates of cultivars into Florida and selection dates of Florida cultivars. Microsatellite marker evidence suggests that as few as four Indian cultivars, and the land race known as `Turpentine', were involved in the early cultivar selections. Florida may not represent a secondary center of diversity; however, the Florida group is a unique set of cultivars selected under similar conditions offering production stability in a wide range of environments.

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Effects of planting methods and rowcover on the production of yellow crookneck squash, Cucurbita pepo L. var. melopepo Alef., were evaluated over 2 years at the E.V. Smith Research Center, Shorter, Ala. Summer squash was direct-seeded or transplanted in the field with or without black plastic mulch and grown with or without rowcover. Yield of transplanted squash was significantly increased over the same squash direct-seeded. Neither plastic mulch nor rowcover had an effect on summer squash production. Transplants matured 8 to 10 days earlier than the direct-seeded plants.

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Yellow crookneck `Dixie' hybrid summer squash, Cucurbita pepo L. var. melopeop Alef., was evaluated at E.V. Smith Research Center, Shorter, Alabama. Summer squash was grown in single rows spaced 6 feet apart. Plants were seeded 18 inches apart within 20-foot row plots. Treatments were: 1) black plastic mulch (BPM), 2) yellow painted plastic mulch (YPM), 3) white plastic mulch (WPM), 4) bare soil (BS), 5) aluminum painted plastic mulch (APM) and 6) bare soil with Diazinon insecticide (BSI). Aphid traps caught more aphids in BS or BPM plots than those from APM or YPM plots. The onset of mosaic disease incidence of squash infected with the two viruses identified as zucchini yellow mosaic and cucumber mosaic was delayed by as much as three weeks when compared to BSI or BS. Summer squash planted in APM, WPM, YPM and BPM produced 96%, 98%, 75% and 21%, respectively, more total squash yield than that produced on bare soil (control). A higher percentage of green squash (virus infected) was produced from plants grown over BPM (72%), BSI (68%), BS (59%), YPM (57%) or WPM (57%) than from APM (39%)

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The visual appearance of mangos is a primary factor in determining consumer acceptance and sale, similar to other fruit and vegetable commodities. Even if the appeal of visual appearance is based on consumer perception rather than on established quality factors, breeders must usually select within the range of acceptance, at least in some countries. Mango selection using multiyear breeding programs is slowly replacing the former method by which most earlier cultivars were selected, namely from chance seedlings either from planned or unplanned crosses. The knowledge of heritability of traits as they are controlled by genetics and experimental design and the effects and interaction of these two sets of factors on achieved gain have become more critical. The use of portable colorimeters has been shown to give repeatable scores in a quantitative, three-dimensional space for fruits and vegetables. In this experiment, we calculated broad-sense heritability estimates for five color traits, three morphological fruit traits, and one disease resistance trait (anthracnose expressed on the fruit). Estimates were found to be relatively high, indicating good potential for improvement through breeding. For nearly all traits measured, variance within families was greater than that among families, illustrating the likely importance of heterozygosity, dominance, and epistasis in these crosses. The careful estimation of heritability and repeatability will help prioritize and increase the efficiency of trait improvement as breeding methods become more sophisticated and competition for funding increases.

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A genetic linkage map was created from 146 cacao trees (Theobroma cacao), using an F2 population produced by selfing an F1 progeny of the cross Sca6 and ICS1. Simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers (170) were used principally for this map, with 12 candidate genes [eight resistance gene homologues (RGH) and four stress related WRKY genes], for a total of 182 markers. Joinmap software was used to create the map, and 10 linkage groups were clearly obtained, corresponding to the 10 known chromosomes of cacao. Our map encompassed 671.9 cM, approximately 100 cM less than most previously reported cacao maps, and 213.5 cM less than the one reported high-density map. Approximately 27% of the markers showed significant segregation distortion, mapping together in six genomic areas, four of which also showed distortion in other cacao maps. Two quantitative trait loci (QTL) for resistance to witches' broom disease were found, one producing a major effect and one a minor effect, both showing important dominance effects. One QTL for trunk diameter was found at a point 10.2 cM away from the stronger resistance gene. One RGH flanked the minor QTL for witches' broom resistance, implying possible association. QTLs mapped in F2 populations produce estimates of additive and dominance effects, not obtainable in F1 crosses. As dominance was clearly shown in the QTL found in this study, this population merits further study for evaluation of dominance effects for other traits. This F2 cacao population constitutes a useful link for genomic studies between cacao and cotton, its only widely grown agronomic relative.

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Avocado (Persea americana Mill.) possesses a unique flowering mechanism, thought to promote out-crossing, in which the male and female parts of the perfect flower function at different time periods. Cultivars are classified as Flowering Type A, where flowers are functionally female the morning of one day and functionally male the afternoon of the next day, or Flowering Type B, where flowers are functionally female in the afternoon and functionally male the next morning. Avocado growers typically interplant cultivars of opposite flowering types to maximize yield. Recently, it has been hypothesized that 90% to 95% of avocado flowers are self-pollinated in southern Florida. However, this hypothesis does not address whether mature, marketable avocado fruit in Florida are the result of outcrossing. To determine whether avocado fruit in southern Florida result from self-pollination or outcrossing, fruit were harvested from a commercial orchard in Miami-Dade County, Florida, from a block consisting of two cultivars, Simmonds (Flowering Type A) and Tonnage (Flowering Type B), interplanted in approximately equal numbers. Seeds were germinated and the resulting progeny were genotyped using eight fully informative, microsatellite markers. Seventy-four percent of the ‘Simmonds’ progeny and 96% of the ‘Tonnage’ progeny were judged to be the result of cross-pollination, with an estimated overall outcrossing rate of 63% to 85% within this particular block of the orchard. Seedlings judged to be the result of cross-pollinations between ‘Simmonds’ and ‘Tonnage’ are being maintained at the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service, Subtropical Horticulture Research Station and are being evaluated for segregation of important agronomic and horticultural traits.

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Avocado (Persea americana Mill.) has an unusual flowering mechanism, diurnally synchronous protogynous dichogamy, that promotes crosspollination among avocado genotypes. In commercial groves, which usually contain pollinizer rows adjacent to the more desirable commercial cultivars, the rate of outcrossing has been measured with variable results. Using microsatellite markers, we estimated outcrossing in a commercial California ‘Hass’ avocado orchard with adjacent ‘Bacon’ pollinizers. Seedlings grown from mature harvested fruit of both cultivars were genotyped with five fully informative microsatellite markers and their parentage determined. Among the 919 seedlings of ‘Hass’, 688 (75%) were hybrids with ‘Bacon’; the remaining 231 (25%) seedlings were selfs of ‘Hass’. Among the 850 seedlings of ‘Bacon’, 382 (45%) were hybrids with ‘Hass’ and the remaining 468 (55%) seedlings were selfs of ‘Bacon’. The high outcrossing rate observed in the ‘Hass’ seedlings was expected, because adjacent rows of opposite flowering types (A versus B) are expected to outcross. However, the high selfing rate in ‘Bacon’ was unexpected. A previous study in Florida using the cultivars ‘Simmonds’ and ‘Tonnage’ demonstrated differences in outcrossing rates between complementary flowering type cultivars. In both Florida and California, the A type parents (‘Hass’ and ‘Simmonds’) had similar outcrossing rates (≈75%); however, the B type parents (‘Bacon’ and ‘Tonnage”) had highly skewed outcrossing rates of 45% and 96%, respectively. Two new avocado lethal mutants were discovered among the selfed seedlings of ‘Hass’ and ‘Bacon’. These were labeled “spindly” and “gnarly” and are similar in phenotype to mutants described in Arabidopsis and other crop species.

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