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J.H.M. Barten, J.W. Scott and R.G. Gardner

Pointed blossom-end morphology may be used to reduce blossom-end scar size in large-fruited, fresh-market tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.). The usefulness of this characteristic has been limited due to persistence of pointedness on mature fruit, resulting in postharvest bruising, and to close association of pointedness with leaf curl, which may increase foliar disease problems. The inheritance of pointedness in three breeding lines (NC 140, Fla 890559-24, and Fla 894413-1) and four accessions with previously described blossom-end morphology genes [LA 2-5 with persistent style (pst), LA 986 with beaky (bk), LA 1787 with beaky-2 (Bk-2), and LA 2353 with nipple tip (n)] was investigated. In F1 s and F2s of crosses with wild types, some pointedness was observed in heterozygotes, but the level of expression was generally close to wild type expression, except for LA 986. Consequently, Bk-2 in LA 1787 was renamed bk-2. F1 complementation tests were difficult to interpret. Wild types segregated in F2s of all complementation crosses, except for LA 986 × LA 2-5, a result indicating the presence of the same gene in these two accessions. Three new nipple-tip genes were named; n-2 in NC 140, n-3 in Fla 890559-24, and n-4 in Fla 894413-1. None of the seven accessions tested had significant leaf curl. Early identification of mutant plants by the shape of the stylar base in flowers at anthesis was reliable only for bk. Various blossom-end morphology genes may be backcrossed into otherwise desirable breeding lines, and complementing parents may be intercrossed to obtain optimal smoothness in the hybrid without undesirable pointed mature hybrid fruit.

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J. H. M. Barten, J. W. Scott, J. Elkind and N. Kedar

A half diallel including 11 parents was conducted under high temp. conditions in Florida and low temp. conditions in Israel. Blossom scar (BS) size was measured relative to the fruit size for 20 mature fruits per plot. Griffing's analysis showed that both GCA and SCA effects were highly significant at both locations (p< 0.0001). Analysis according to Hayman indicated no epistatic effects. In both environments, additive and dominant gene action was significant (p < 0.0005), although the additive gene effects were most important. Averaged over all loci, the incomplete dominance was in the direction of small BS. Narrow sense heritability estimates were 0.62 and 0.57 for Florida and Israel, respectively. Combined analysis showed that the genetic system was unstable over the 2 environments, as both additive and dominant gene effects interacted significantly with environment (p < 0.0001). The implication for breeding programs is that hybrid performance should be tested at several locations to insure stability of small BS.

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J.H.M. Barten, J.W. Scott, N. Kedar and Y. Elkind

To identify the stage of flower development sensitive to low temperature-induced rough blossom-end scarring (RBS) in tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.), short-term low-temperature treatments (1, 3, and 5 days continuously at 10C or 6, 9, and 12 days at 18/10C day/night) were applied to young, flowering plants and to plants at the six-leaf stage. Flowers were tagged at anthesis over 4 weeks and the growth stage of the flowers at the beginning of the treatments was determined in days relative to anthesis. The blossom-end scar index (BSI), a measure for blossom-end scar size relative to fruit size, and number of locules were recorded for mature fruits. In three experiments, 5 days at 10C or 6 days at 18/10C, applied during early flower differentiation, induced RBS in mature fruits. For each of the three cultivars tested `Horizon', Waker', and `Solar Set'), flower buds were most sensitive from 26 to 19 days before anthesis. In this experiment, RBS induction was not caused by an increase in the average number of locules per fruit. A short period of sensitivity during very early flower development explains the variation in RBS among seasons and within plants encountered in field situations. This study also presents a standard induction technique for further investigation of physiological and morphological backgrounds of the disorder and possible genotype screening.