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  • Author or Editor: Joseph Postman x
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The wealth of small fruit genetic resources present in China is recognized; however, very little collection and subsequent incorporation of this germplasm have taken place. From July to Aug. 1996, we collected small fruit germplasm with Chinese colleagues in northeast China. The collection area was primarily in Heilongjiang and Jilin provinces; from the Russian border (53°N) to the North Korean border and south to 42°N. Collections were made in the Changbai Shan, Xio Hinggan Ling, and Da Hinggan Ling mountain ranges. The primary genera of interest included Rubus, Ribes, Vaccinium, and Fragaria. In addition, species within Corylus, Actinidia, Lonicera, Sambucus, and Schizandra were collected along with ornamental trees, herbaceous perennials, and shrubs when available. Seed was shared with our Chinese colleagues. Collections have been deposited within the USDA-ARS National Plant Germplasm System. The most-promising collections included: an extremely large fruited Rubus crataegifolius population, many populations of Vaccinium uliginosum and V. vitis-idaea from a broad geographic range, large samples of F. orientalis, and a number of populations of the edible Lonicera caerulea. The collected species, collection sites, and observations will be presented.

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Simple Sequence Repeat (SSR) markers developed in apple and pear were used to determine genetic relationships among heritage apple and pear cultivars from Portugal's Azore Islands, and to develop identity fingerprints for European and Asian pear accessions at the USDA–ARS National Clonal Germplasm Repository (NCGR). We used 11 SSR markers (six from apple and five from pear) to examine 18 heritage apple and 9 heritage pear cultivars from the Azores. Eight additional Portuguese and economically important cultivars of apple and eight of pear were used as standards. Cluster analysis separated the apple and pear accessions into two distinct groups. Among apple genotypes, 12 unique accessions and five groups of synonyms were identified, while, in pear, seven unique genotypes and three pairs of synonyms were found. None of the accessions obtained from the Azores corresponded to widely grown standard Portuguese apple or pear cultivars. To examine 144 NCGR pear accessions, we used nine polymorphic SSR loci that were developed from GenBank sequences. Cluster analysis identified five sets of synonyms (four in P. communis L. and one in P. ussuriensis Maxim.) and four pairs of homonyms (three in P. communis and one in P. pyrifolia Burm. f. Nakai), and confirmed three clonal sets. Morphological evaluations and additional SSR markers will be used to confirm these results, and to genetically document the identities of pear genotypes. SSR markers will greatly assist the management of ex situ pome fruit germplasm collections by helping to eliminate duplicate accessions and expanding the genetic diversity represented.

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Gene discovery and marker development using DNA-based tools require plant populations with well-documented phenotypes. If dissimilar phenotype evaluation methods or data scoring techniques are used with different crops, or at different laboratories for the same crops, then data mining for genetic marker correlations is challenging. For example, apples and pears may share many of the same disease resistance genes. Fire blight resistance evaluations for apples often use a scale of 1 to 5 and pear evaluations use a scale of 1 to 9. In some reports, a low number means low susceptibility and in other reports, a low number means low resistance. Other disease evaluations rate resistance as greater than or less than a well-documented standard cultivar. Environment, pathogen isolate, and whether disease ratings are the result of natural infection or artificial inoculation also have a strong impact on disease resistance ratings. Before a wider set of disease resistance phenotype data can be correlated with genetic data, rating scales must be standardized and the evaluation environment must be taken into account. Standardizing the recording of disease resistance data in plant phenotype databases will improve the ability to correlate these data with genomic data.

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Clonal woody crop germplasm collections often originate and are grown in distinct geographical locations. Because the degree of cold-hardiness is known to be a factor in the successful use of dormant bud cryopreservation for Malus, it was suggested that material from relatively warmer climates would not respond to cryopreservation as well as material from colder environments. To test this hypothesis, the effect of growing provenance on cryosurvival of dormant buds from three Malus (apple) cultivars grown in three locations (Geneva, NY; Davis, CA; and Corvallis, OR) was tested in 3 consecutive years. Dormant winter buds were harvested at the three locations, cryopreserved, and bud viability was tested by grafting. The collective 3-year mean viability for cryopreserved dormant apple buds for the three locations ranged from 63% to 81% of the buds surviving with the highest survival from the Corvallis site; however, the Geneva twigs were exposed to the lowest preharvest temperature. These results suggest that the temperature at the growing location may not hinder application of the dormant bud cryopreservation method with Malus to the extent previously speculated.

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A pawpaw (Asimina triloba) regional variety trial (PRVT) was established at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, National Clonal Germplasm Repository (NCGR), Corvallis, Ore., in Fall 1995. This orchard was a replicated planting of 28 commercially available varieties or advanced selections from the PawPaw Foundation (PPF; Frankfort, Ky.), with eight replicate trees of each selection grafted onto seedling rootstocks and planted in a randomized block design. Two years after planting, 32 trees had either failed to establish or had died after an initial healthy start. By July 1999, 25% of grafted trees had died due to a vascular wilt-like disease, and 2 years later mortality exceeded 50%. Grafted selections with the lowest symptom severity include 1-7-2, 2-54, 7-90, 8-58, 9-58, `Mitchell', `PA-Golden #1', `Taylor' and `Wilson'. Seedling guard trees were unaffected until July 2000, when six guard trees of 76 died and 10 more were declining. By July 2001, 14 guard trees were dead. No fungi were consistently isolated from declining trees. A number of bacteria were isolated from infected trees, but no specific pathogen has been confirmed as the causal agent. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests for phytoplasmas and for the bacterium Xylella fastidiosa were also negative. Research is ongoing to determine if a bacterial pathogen was the cause of the pawpaw decline in the Oregon PRVT.

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The similarity or differences of peroxidase isozymes in rootstocks and scions may influence their graft compatibility. This study was conducted to identify peroxidase isozymes that may be used as markers to predict compatibility between pear (Pyrus communis L.) and various quince (Cydonia oblonga Mill.) clones. `Bartlett' (BT) and `Beurre Hardy' (BH) pear cultivars are known to form incompatible and compatible grafts, respectively, with quince rootstocks. The two pear scion cultivars were budded on `quince A' (QA), `quince BA-29', and 15 selected quince clones from Turkey. Bark and cambial tissues were taken from nonbudded rootstocks and scions, and 4 cm above and below the graft union for peroxidase isozyme analysis performed by starch gel electrophoresis. Isoperoxidase analyses were also performed on samples from the graft unions collected 12 months after grafting. Many isozyme bands were observed commonly in the two scions; however, one anodal peroxidase A was detected in BH (compatible scion) but not in BT (incompatible scion) samples. This isoperoxidase was also detected in QA, Quince BA-29, and nine of the Turkish quince clones. Another isoperoxidase, band B, was detected in BH but not in BT or any of the rootstocks. However, the compatible (BH/QA) and moderately compatible (BT/BA-29) graft union tissues contained bands A and B whereas incompatible graft union tissues (BT/QA) lacked both. Graft union samples involving BT and five Turkish quince clones (705, 609-2, 702, 804, and 806) had both `A' and `B' isoperoxidases while one or both of these bands were absent in nonbudded graft partners. Field observations of 3.5 year-old grafts of BT and Turkish quince clones revealed that the vegetative growth (vigor) of BT scion was significantly greater, when grafted on these five clones, than that in graft combinations with other clones. We suggest that matching of isoperoxidase `A' in quince rootstocks and BH pear scion may be associated with a compatible graft combination. Additionally, presence of isoperoxidases `A' and `B' in the graft union tissues may be used as an indicator to predict a compatible graft between BT and quince rootstocks.

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During Dec. 1997 and Jan. 1998, the gooseberry mite, Cecidophyopsis grossulariae Collinge, was observed to infest 48 currant and gooseberry (Ribes L.) cultivars in a field plantation in Corvallis, Ore. The mite was observed on 29 black currant, (Ribes nigrum L.), two red currant [Ribes rubrum L. and R. sativum (Rchbch.) Syme], 12 gooseberry [R. uvacrispa L., R. oxyacanthoides var. setosum (Lindley) Sinnot], and three R. ×nidigrolaria Bauer cultivars and the hybrid R. nigrum × R. pauciflorum Turcz. ex Pojark. A range of mite infestation levels was observed, with some cultivars not being infested, some with light infestation, having 1 to 100 adult mites per bud, and some heavily infested, with more than 100 mites per bud. On lightly infested buds, the mites were inside bud and leaf scales; in heavily infested buds, mites were also observed on floral primordia. Scales of infested buds were often loose and appeared more open than noninfested ones. Mite distribution varied by branch within a plant. Black currant cultivars with the heaviest infestation of C. grossulariae were of Scandinavian, Russian, Scottish, and Canadian origin. The Russian black currant cultivar Tunnaja was the most heavily infested with more than 1000 mites per bud. Floral primordia were damaged in heavily infested buds.

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The rare plant, Fragaria multicipita Fern., was characterized by an unusual vegetative morphology that was long presumed to be suggestive of an ice front relict. While an additional species of Fragaria would be a potential source of genetic diversity for enhancing cultivated strawberry germplasm, evidence now indicates that such potential is not present in F. multicipita. Grafting of F. multicipita to F. chiloensis Duchesne resulted in transmission of a subgroup 16SrVI-B phytoplasma to, and the development of multicipital growth in, F. chiloensis. The results indicated that F. multicipita is a phytoplasma-diseased aberrant growth form of F. virginiana Duchesne and is an unfounded taxon. It is apparent that this plant population offers no unique potential for increasing genetic diversity in cultivated strawberry germplasm, but the phytoplasma may be capable of infecting commercial strawberry.

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Edible European pears (Pyrus communis sp. communis L.) are thought to be derived from wild relatives native to the Caucasus Mountain region and eastern Europe. We collected genotype, phenotype, and geographic origin data for 145 P. communis individuals derived from seeds collected from wild relatives. These individuals are currently maintained in the USDA–ARS National Plant Germplasm System (NPGS) in Corvallis, Ore. Pear genotypes were obtained using 13 microsatellite markers. A Bayesian clustering method grouped the individual pear genotypes into 12 clusters. The subspecies of pears native to the Caucasus Mountains of Russia, Crimea, and Armenia could be genetically differentiated from the subspecies native to eastern European countries. Pears with large fruit clustered closely together and are most closely related to a group of genotypes that are intermediate to the other groups. Based on the high number of unique alleles and heterozygosity in each of the 12 clusters, we conclude that the genetic diversity of wild P. communis is not fully represented in the NPGS

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Powdery mildew (PM) occurs worldwide and is prevalent on susceptible cultivars wherever pears are grown, causing economic losses due to russeted fruit and an increased need for fungicides. A core subset of the Pyrus germplasm collection at the USDA National Clonal Germplasm Repository in Corvallis, Ore., was evaluated for resistance to Podosphaera leucotricha, the causal agent of PM, using greenhouse and field inoculations of potted trees. The core collection consists of about 200 cultivars and species selections, representing most of the genetic diversity of pears and includes 31 Asian cultivars (ASN), 122 European cultivars (EUR), 9 EUR × ASN hybrids and 46 pear species selections. Three trees of each core accession were grafted on seedling rootstocks. In 2001–02, trees were artificially inoculated in a greenhouse, grown under conditions conducive for PM, and evaluated for symptoms. The same trees were subsequently evaluated for PM symptoms from natural field infections during 2003 and 2004. In the greenhouse, 95% of EUR and 38% of ASN were infected with PM. Average PM incidence (percent of leaves infected) in the greenhouse (8% for ASN and 30% for EUR) was much higher than incidence in the field (2% for ASN and 5% for EUR) during 2003. Symptoms were also more severe in the greenhouse, with 46% of ASN and 83% of EUR with PM symptoms having a mean PM incidence of >10%. In the field, 42% and 22% of EUR and 23% and 13% of ASN were infected with P. leucotricha in 2003 and 2004, respectively. Field infection was very low during both years, with percentage leaves infected in ASN and species selections significantly different from EUR. In the field, 6% of ASN with PM symptoms had a mean PM incidence >10% during both years, while 15% and 2% of EUR accessions with PM symptoms had a mean PM incidence >10% in 2003 and 2004 respectively. These results should be very useful to pear breeding programs to develop improved PM resistant cultivars in the future, by using accessions with consistent low PM ratings.

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