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P. D. Dukes and Janice R. Bohac

There are four known physiological races of the southern root-knot nematode [Meloidogyne incognita (Kofoid & White) Chitwood]. Races are designated I through 4 and their identifications are based soley on differential hosts. These race problems as related to breeding sweetpotato for resistance to attack by all races are reviewed and discussed. Data are presented showing the reactions of selected cultivar and breeding clones of sweetpotato to all four races. The reactions of races 1 and 3 are generally well—known. Races 2 and 4 apparently are spreading and becoming more numerous in the southern states where soybean and tobacco are grown. Comparative disease indices are presented showing that generally sweetpotatoes were less susceptible to races 2 and 4. However, there were some notable exceptions, for example, `Sulfur' and `Beauregard' were equally susceptible to all races. High resistances to attack by races 2 and 4 were found in `Sumor', `Nemagold', `Excel', W-241 and others.

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D. Michael Jackson and Janice R. Bohac

Production of sweetpotatoes is severely limited by several insect pests, and new pest management approaches for this crop are needed. A host plant resistance research program typically depends on reliable bioassay procedures to streamline evaluation of germplasm. Thus, bioassay procedures were developed for both adults and larvae of two cucumber beetle species (Diabrotica balteata and D. undecimpunctata). For the adult bioassay, a piece of sweetpotato peel (periderm & cortex with stele removed) was embedded periderm-side up in plaster in a Petri dish, and a single adult was placed on it. Plugs were changed as needed and adult longevity was measured. A laboratory bioassay also was developed for Diabrotica larvae. Plugs (0.9 cm diameter) of sweetpotato peel or stele were placed periderm-side up into sterile microcentrifuge tubes (1.5 mL) containing 0.5 mL water-agar to prevent desiccation. One second instar Diabrotica was added to each micro centrifuge tube, which was held at 25 °C for 12 days. Surviving larvae were weighed. Diabrotica larvae grew larger when they were fed stele than when they were fed peels of any sweetpotato genotype. Larval growth was not different among genotypes for any of the stele treatments. However, larval growth on the peel of the resistant genotypes (Regal and W-375) was significantly lower than for the susceptible cultivars Beauregard or SC1149-19. These bioassays were consistent with field results, indicating that these techniques could be useful for evaluating pest resistance in sweetpotato genotypes for Diabrotica and other insect species.

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Janice R. Bohac, Alfred Jones and Daniel F. Austin

Previous work in this laboratory identified high levels of unreduced (2n) pollen in the tetraploid (4×) Ipomoea spp. Acc. 81.2. This work provided indirect evidence that 2n pollen was involved in the evolution of the 6x ploidy level of the cultivated sweetpotato (I. batatas). To further study the role of 2n pollen in sweetpotato evolution, we examined plants of Acc. 81.2. plants of five sweetpotato cultivars, and 100 randomly selected heterozygous sweetpotato seedlings. The 4× Acc. 81.2 was determined to be I. batatas. High levels of large 2n pollen were confirmed in Acc. 81.2, and low levels of 2n pollen were observed in `Sulfur' and in 16% of the sweetpotato seedlings. Presence of monad, dyad, and triad sporads confirmed that the large 2n pollen grains were the result of nonreduction in the sporad stage. These new findings are direct evidence that 2n pollen was involved in the evolution of the 6× ploidy level of sweetpotato. This is the first report of a 4× accession classified as I. batatas; it is also the first report of 2n pollen in 6× I. batatas The widespread presence of 2n pollen in sweetpotato suggests that the trait can be used to advantage in breeding programs to introgress genes from wild 4× Ipomoea spp. into cultivated 6× sweetpotato without adverse effects on genetic stability or fertility.

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D. Michael Jackson, Howard F. Harrison, Judy A. Thies, Janice R. Bohac and J.D. Mueller

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Janice R. Bohac, D.M. Jackson, John D. Mueller and P.D. Dukes Sr.

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D. Michael Jackson, Janice R. Bohac, Judy A. Thies and Howard F. Harrison