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Jack E. Staub and Juan Zalapa

Plant improvement incorporating quantitatively inherited yield component traits is technically difficult, time consuming, and resource demanding. In melon (Cucumis melo L.), the inheritance of yield components is poorly understood. A unique highly branched fractal melon plant type has been developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) from exotic germplasm to improve yield of U.S. Western Shipping type melons (Group Cantalupensis). In order to more effectively develop useful germplasm for commercial use the genetic of components of yield must be clearly understood. Thus, the genetics of branching, an important yield component, was investigated. Melon progeny derived (F1, F2, F3, BC1P1, and BC1P2) derived from a cross between USDA line 846-1 (P1) and Top-Mark (P2) were used to evaluated in two locations (Wisconsin and California) to estimate of components of variance, and narrow-sense (h2N) and broad-sense (h2B) sense heritabilities. Lateral branch numbers among 71 to 119 F3 families were significantly different (P ¾ 0.01) regardless of test environment. Covariance analyses indicates that branching is moderately heritable (h2B = 0.62 to 0.76, h2N = 0.43 to 0.48), and conditioned by several additive factors (perhaps 2 to 4) that are highly additive. Although environment plays an important role in lateral branch development, family rankings over environments were relatively consistent, indicating that effective selection for this trait should be useful for incorporating the fractal plant habit into Western Shipping melon. The significant additive component underlying lateral branch number indicates that quantitative trait loci (QTL) conditioning this yield component might be identified for use in marker-assisted selection.

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Jack E. Staub and Karl Braunschweig

A teaching module was developed for computer-aided instruction of mutation theory. The Hypercard-driven, Macintosh compatible module illustrates the concepts of: 1) Changes in allele frequency with mutation pressure; 2) Number of alleles maintained in populations, and; 3) The Neutrality Hypothesis. The concepts are integrated in an application by using a game format.

Mutation is the ultimate source of genetic variation. Mutation pressure results in changes in allele frequency. Concept 1 illustrates the theoretical changes in allele frequency under pressure of reversible mutation. Mutation equilibrium is depicted as P=V/u+v; where v=mutation rates of allele A and u of allele a. The Infinite-Alleles Model of mutation is illustrated in Concept 2 and specifies characteristics of new mutations by F=1/4Nu+1, where F=fixation index and N=number in population. Concept 3 demonstrates the hypothesis that polymorphisms result from selectively neutral alleles maintained in a balance between mutation and random genetic drift.

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John Navazio and Jack E. Staub

A fruit anomaly, pillowy (P), has been identified in processing cucumber This physiological disorder has been shown to be accelerated by water stress.

A series of experiments were conducted to determine postharvest handling procedures which minimize the appearance of pillowy after induction by water stress. Isogenic lines evaluated in RCB design with 3 replications where subjected to water stress during fruit enlargement. Fruits were then subjected to various storage temperatures and times before hydrocooling to 8°C. Cucumbers were then fresh pack processed and evaluated for % pillowy after 12 weeks,

The postharvest control treatmcnt (2 days, 26°C, 60% RH) produced 32%P to 51%P in fruit subjected to stress and 23%P to 39%P in unstressed fruit. In the optimal postharvest treatment (1 day, 26°C, 60% RH, then hydrocool to 8°C, 2 days, 15°C, 85% RH) fruits from stress plants exhibited 23%P to 39%P and those from nonstress plants showed 13%P to 26%P. Fruits from miniature leaf lines exhibited higher percent (37%) P ratings when compared to normal leaf lines.

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Jack E. Staub and Karl Braunschweig

A teaching module was developed for computer-aided instruction of mutation theory. The Hypercard-driven, Macintosh compatible module illustrates the concepts of: 1) Changes in allele frequency with mutation pressure; 2) Number of alleles maintained in populations, and; 3) The Neutrality Hypothesis. The concepts are integrated in an application by using a game format.

Mutation is the ultimate source of genetic variation. Mutation pressure results in changes in allele frequency. Concept 1 illustrates the theoretical changes in allele frequency under pressure of reversible mutation. Mutation equilibrium is depicted as P=V/u+v; where v=mutation rates of allele A and u of allele a. The Infinite-Alleles Model of mutation is illustrated in Concept 2 and specifies characteristics of new mutations by F=1/4Nu+1, where F=fixation index and N=number in population. Concept 3 demonstrates the hypothesis that polymorphisms result from selectively neutral alleles maintained in a balance between mutation and random genetic drift.

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Vanessa S. Gordon and Jack E. Staub

Chilling damage can cause major reductions in cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) yield. Cucumber plants can withstand a chilling event (i.e., tolerance and susceptibility), in which response is dictated primarily by maternally inherited plastid genomes or by the biparental contribution of a nuclear factor. To examine the modes of inheritance, exact reciprocal backcross cucumber populations (BC15), were created by crossing ‘Chipper’ (chilling-tolerant plastid, susceptible nucleus) and line North Carolina State University (NCSU) M29 (chilling-susceptible plastid, susceptible nucleus). These progeny and their parents were subjected to chilling stress [5.5 h at 4 °C in 270 μmol·m−2·s−1 photosynthetic photon flux (PPF) cool white lighting] at the first true-leaf stage. The chilling response of individuals possessing either NCSU M29 or ‘Chipper’ cytoplasm in any generational comparison was not significantly different (P > 0.05) from that of the maternal plastid source (susceptible or tolerant). Moreover, lines within a plastid type did not differ significantly (P > 0.05) in chilling response despite unequal nuclear contributions demonstrating the absence of nuclear additive or dosage effects originating in ‘Chipper’ or NCSU M29. Additionally, line NC-76, previously identified as a nuclear source of chilling tolerance, performed intermediate to ‘Chipper’ and NCSU M29 in chilling response under these stress conditions. The F1 progeny derived from crossing both BC5 plastidic response types (susceptible and tolerant) with NC-76 (paternal parent) performed comparable to their plastid donors and were significantly different (P < 0.0001) from one another despite their heterozygous nuclear nature resulting from the contribution of the nuclear chilling-tolerant factor contributed by NC-76. The response of tolerant and susceptible BC5 lines (i.e., ‘Chipper’ plastid in the NCSU M29 background and NCSU M29 plastid in ‘Chipper’ background, respectively) was reversible by crossing BC progeny with an alternate chilling-response plastid type. It is concluded that under these chilling conditions, plastid effects determine tolerance or susceptibility in the cucumber germplasms examined.

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Todd C. Wehner and Jack E. Staub

The cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) germplasm collection of 924 cultigens (accessions, breeding lines and cultivars) was evaluated for resistance to anthracnose (Colletotrichum orbiculare (Pass.) Ell. & Halst) in the field and greenhouse. The field test was run using 1 m plots grown in 4 environments (year-location combinations). The field was inoculated 3 weeks after planting using a backpack sprayer. A susceptible spreader cultivar (Wis. SMR 18) was planted every 5th row, and plots were overhead-irrigated 3 times/week. Plots were rated 1 and 2 weeks after inoculation. The greenhouse test was run using seedlings grown in flats of vermiculite, and inoculated with 104 spores/ml on one cotyledon. Plants were rated using the size of the chlorotic halo surrounding the lesion. There was no correlation (r=0.04 to 0.17) of seedling test with field test ratings, nor between any of the 4 field test environments. Correlations were significant among field tests when only cultivars and breeding lines were evaluated. We concluded that diversity within accessions resulted in the lack of correlation among tests. The cultigens that had high resistance in all tests were `Slice', NCSU M 21, Gy 14A, `Addis' and PI 164433 (India). Most susceptible were PI 175696 (Turkey) and PI 285606 (Poland).

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Matthew D. Robbins and Jack E. Staub

Four cucumber (Cucumus sativus L.) inbred lines were intermated then bulked maternally to create four base populations denoted as cycle 0 (i.e., Pop.1 C0, Pop.2 C0, Pop.3 C0, Pop.4 C0). Each of these populations underwent phenotypic selection (PHE; open-field evaluations), selection by marker (MAS; genotyping at 20 marker loci), and random mating (RAN; no selection) for three cycles. The four traits under selection, multiple lateral branching (MLB), gynoecious sex expression (GYN), earliness (EAR), and fruit length to diameter ratio (L:D), are quantitatively inherited, controlled by relatively few (two to six) QTL per trait and are directly related to yield. Using the same C0 populations and selection scheme allowed a direct comparison of the effectiveness of MAS and PHE. Because each C0 population varied for any given trait, the response to MAS and PHE was not the same for each population. In general, C0 populations that were inferior for a trait either responded favorably to selection or remained constant, while those with superior trait values either did not change or decreased. Both MAS and PHE provided improvements in all traits under selection in at least one population, with the exception of MAS for EAR. MAS and PHE were equally effective at improving MLB and L:D, but PHE was generally more effective than MAS for GYN and EAR. When considering all traits, responses to PHE were superior in three of the four populations. The population for which MAS was superior, however, showed the only increase in yield (fruit per plant), which was not under direct selection. These results indicate that both MAS and PHE are useful for multi-trait improvement in cucumber, but their effectiveness depends on the traits and populations under selection.

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Jack E. Staub and John P. Navazio

A study was designed to determine whether temperature alone or temperature and relative humidity (RH) interactions affect the development of pillowy fruit disorder (PFD) in cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.). Fruit of `Calypso', `Flurry', `Carolina'? and inbred breeding line 39 were matured in four environments: cyclic and high (22 to 45C) and moderate (22 to 30C) temperatures at two RHs (35% and 75%). PFD symptoms were most severe at high temperature and RH; thus, both contribute to the development of this disorder. Line 39 had the highest PFD ratings, regardless of growing environment, a result indicating that cultigens respond differently to these imposed stresses.

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Larry D. Knerr and Jack E. Staub

The available U. S. Cucumis sativus germplasm collection (754 Plant Introductions) was electrophoretically screened for genetic diversity using 39 enzymes representing a total of 57 loci. Polymorphisms were observed at 18 loci which included g2dh, gpi1, gpi2, gr1, gr2, idh, mdh1, mdh2, mdh3, mpi2, pep-la2, pep-pap2, per4, pgd1, pgd2, pgm1, pgm3, and skdh. Appropriate crosses were set up to verify the inheritance of and test linkages among these loci. Four allozyme linkage groups have currently been identified. Representative linkages and their genetic distances include: gpi1 - mdh3 (20); pgm1 - pgd1 (25); and g2dh - pgd2 (19). Additionally, crosses were made to marker stocks to test for linkages between some allozyme loci and loci coding for resistance to downy mildew and anthracnose, long hypocotyl, divided leaf, short petiole, glabrous, compact plant, determinate, little leaf, and bitter free (bi).

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Jack E. Staub and Isabelle Y. Delannay