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  • Author or Editor: Janice L. Stephens x
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Alstroemeria is an important cut flower in the U.S. due to their wide variety of colors and to their long vase life. The most commonly grown cultivars were developed in Europe and their parentage has never been fully divulged. We are attempting to determine the probable parents of many of these cultivars through karyotype analysis and giemsa banding. Although preliminary karyotype analyses are available for 10 species and 25 cultivars, detailed karyotype analyses of only A. pelegrina and A. ligtu hybrids have been completed. Detailed karyotype analyses are now complete for 7 more species of Alstroemeria as well as the related genera Leontochir and Bomarea and 23 cultivars. A comparison among species and cultivars will be presented reflecting probable parentage of the cultivars. Results of giemsa banding will also be presented to further clarify cultivar parentage and relationships. This information should facilitate the more rapid development of successful cultivars by breeders in the U.S.

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Isozyme analysis was used to characterize and identify 24 species, hybrids, and color variants of Alstroemeria, two plants of Leontochir ovallei, and one plant of Bomarea. A single technique was developed for the extraction of seven enzyme systems (PGM, PGI, 6-PGD, EST, ME, AAT, and LAP) that exhibited a high level of polymorphism. Between 11 and 18 of the species and hybrids could be identified uniquely for each of the first six enzyme systems. The final system, LAP, was tested on only 11 species and hybrids, and nine different patterns were identified. Using only three of the seven enzyme systems, it was possible to uniquely identify all of the species and hybrids investigated.

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Isozymes have been used since the 1960's to identify species and cultivars in many different genera in the plant and animal kingdom. Each species has a unique banding pattern for its various isozymes with the number of detectable isozymes dependent on factors such as the number of genes coding for the enzyme, the number of alleles of each gene, the quarternary structure of the enzyme and the possible formation of intergenic enzymes. Alstroemeria is an important cut flower currently ranked 4th in production in the U.S. The cultivars that are available to the growers have largely been developed in England and the Netherlands. The origin of these cultivars has not been well documented. As a consequence, cultivar development in the U.S. cannot easily resynthesize new cultivars from the original parents used in Europe. We are currently using isozymes to characterize some of the species which are thought to have been the progenitors of the commercial hybrids. These isozyme systems are then used to screen available hybrids for determination of the parental origin of the hybrids. This information could be used to narrow the choice of parents to be used in a breeding program for the development of the U.S. hybrids.

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