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Dario J. Chavez and José X. Chaparro

Citrus kinokuni ‘Mukaku kishu’ PI539530 and its progeny were studied to identify random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) primers associated with seedlessness. Ninety-one F1 [(Robinson op) × C. kinokuni] individuals showed a 1:1 segregation ratio between seedless and seeded phenotypes with seedless as a single dominant gene. Bulked segregant analysis was used to identify markers associated with the seedless locus. Eighteen RAPD primers were mapped into a partial linkage group (≈55.8 cM length) with four RAPD primers flanking the seedless locus: OPAI11-0.8 at 8.7 cM, OPAJ19-1.0 at 8.4 cM, OPM06r-0.85 at 4.3 cM, and OPAJ04r-0.6 at 6.4 cM. The identification of molecular markers linked to C. kinokuni Fs seedless locus constitutes an important and major tool for citrus breeding and selection.

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Dennis J. Werner and Jose X. Chaparro

Genetic interaction of the pillar (PI) and weeping (WE) growth habit genotypes was investigated in peach [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch]. Data from F2, BC1P1, and BC1P2 families showed that PI (brbr) was epistatic to the expression of WE (plpl). A unique growth habit not previously described in peach, and referred to as arching (AR), was recovered in the F2 family. Arching trees showed an upright phenotype similar to Brbr heterozygotes, but had a distinct curvature in the developing shoots. Progeny testing of AR trees revealed their genotype is Brbrplpl.

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Dario J. Chavez, Thomas G. Beckman, and José X. Chaparro

Prunus phylogeny has been extensively studied using chloroplast DNA (cpDNA) sequences. Chloroplast DNA has a slow rate of evolution, which is beneficial to determine species relationships at a deeper level. The chloroplast-based phylogenies have a limitation due to the transfer of this organelle by interspecific hybridization. This creates difficulties when studying species relationships. Interspecific hybrids in Prunus occur naturally and have been reported, which creates a problem when using cpDNA-based phylogenies to determine species relationships. The main goal of this project was to identify nuclear gene regions that could provide an improved phylogenetic signal at the species level in Prunus. A total of 11 species in Prunus and within section Prunocerasus were used. Two peach (Prunus persica) haploids were used to test the reliability of the molecular markers developed in this project to amplify single-copy genes. A total of 33 major genes associated with vernalization response, 16 with tree architecture, and 3 with isozymes, were tested. Similarly, 41 simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers, seven cpDNA regions, and the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region, were used. Multiple gene regions were identified and provided the greatest number of characters, greatest variability, and improved phylogenetic signal at the species level in Prunus section Prunocerasus. Out of those, trnH-psbA, PGI, MAX4, AXR1, LFY, PHYE, and VRN1 are recommended for a phylogenetic analysis with a larger number of taxa. The use of potentially informative characters (PICS) as a measure of how informative a region will be for phylogenetic analyses has been previously reported beneficial in cpDNA regions and it clearly was important in this research. This will allow selecting the region(s), which can be used in phylogenetic studies with higher number of taxa.

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Jose X. Chaparro, Ronald R. Sederoff, and Dennis J. Werner

Total cellular DNA has been extracted from leaves and\or seed of Prunus dulcis, P. persica, P. mira, P. davidiana, P. persica subsp. ferganensis, and P. triloba. Chloroplast restriction fragments have been visualized by Southern blot analysis using heterologous probes from a petunia chloroplast library. Analysis of preliminary data separates the species into three groups. The first contains P. dulcis, P. mira, and P. davidiana; the second P. kansuensis, P. persica, and P. persica subsp. ferganensis; and the third P. triloba.

PCR amplification using oligos for cytosolic glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase yields genomic fragments approximately 1kb in size from P. dulcis and P. triloba. Sequence analysis will be performed to determine species relationships at the gene level.

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Thomas G. Beckman, Jose X. Chaparro, and Patrick J. Conner

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Thomas G. Beckman, Jose X. Chaparro, and Wayne B. Sherman

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Omar Carrillo-Mendoza, Wayne B. Sherman, and José X. Chaparro

Trees without excessive branching are desirable for the reduction of pruning costs. Genetic diversity for less twiggy genotypes exists in peach and a branching index was developed for evaluation and selection of genotypes with reduced branching. The index is based on the number of total first-order branches and the number of second-order, third-order, and fourth-order branches measured on three randomly selected first-order branches. Index values were highly correlated (r 2 ≈0.7) with the total number of branches over two growing seasons and served as a good predictor of branching patterns observed in the third growing season. Thus, the developed branching index is a useful tool in peach breeding, allowing for the early selection of trees with more desirable tree architecture.

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Dario J. Chavez, Eileen A. Kabelka, and José X. Chaparro

Phytophthora capsici causes seedling death, crown and root rot, fruit rot, and foliar blight on squash and pumpkins (Cucurbita spp. L.). A total of 119 C. moschata accessions, from 39 geographic locations throughout the world, and a highly susceptible butternut squash cultivar, Butterbush, were inoculated with a suspension of three highly virulent P. capsici isolates from Florida to identify resistance to crown rot. Mean disease rating (DR) of the C. moschata collection ranged from 1.4 to 5 (0 to 5 scale with 0 resistant and 5 susceptible). Potential resistant and tolerant individuals were identified in the C. moschata collection. A set of 18 PIs from the original screen were rescreened for crown rot resistance. This rescreen produced similar results as the original screen (r = 0.55, P = 0.01). The accessions PI 176531, PI 458740, PI 442266, PI 442262, and PI 634693 were identified with lowest rates of crown infection with a mean DR less than 1.0 and/or individuals with DR = 0. Further selections from these accessions could be made to develop Cucurbita breeding lines and cultivars with resistance to crown rot caused by P. capsici.

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Omar Carrillo-Mendoza, José X. Chaparro, and Jeffrey Williamson

Tree size and branching control has gained importance as labor and pruning costs have increased. In addition, the occurrence of blind nodes is a critical factor that affects peach tree architecture and productivity in subtropical climates. Seven backcross families segregating for branching and blind nodes were developed using ‘Flordaguard’ peach × P. kansuensis or ‘Tardy Nonpareil’ almond F1s backcrossed to ‘AP00-30WBS’, ‘UFSharp’, or ‘UF97-47’ peach selections and evaluated for branching index and blind node frequency during the winters of 2010 and 2011. P. kansuensis backcrosses presented increased branching and lower blind node incidence, whereas almond backcrosses presented less branching and higher blind node incidence, resembling the P. kansuensis and almond F1 parents, respectively. There was also broad variability for branching and blind nodes within the P. kansuensis and ‘Tardy Nonpareil’ almond backcross families influenced by the peach parents that were used to generate the backcross populations. The moderate heritability and year-to-year correlation for these traits indicate that they are affected by the environment, but selection for reduced branching and lower blind node incidence is feasible.

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Jose X. Chaparro, Patrick J. Conner, and Thomas G. Beckman