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  • Author or Editor: Justin A. Schulze x
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Prunus lusitanica (2n = 8x) and Prunus laurocerasus (2n = 22x) are evergreen woody shrubs commonly used in landscapes across the United States and Europe. To reduce the difference in ploidy between these species and with the expectation of successful hybridization, an experiment was performed to double the chromosome number of P. lusitanica. Colchicine was applied at 0%, 0.2%, 0.4%, and 0.8% (w/v), and 125 µM oryzalin as a viscous liquid to the apical meristem of open-pollinated P. lusitanica seedlings. Solutions were semisolidified using 0.55% agar (w/v). Cellular penetration was increased by adding 1% dimethyl sulfoxide (v/v) in all groups except oryzalin. As a result, three chromosome doubled (2n = 16x) plants, one 2n = 12x plant, and 14 cytochimeras (2n = 8x + 16x) were recovered. Application of 125 µM oryzalin had a meristem-survival rate of 17%, statistically lower than all other treatments. The oryzalin treatment also produced the highest number of altered ploidy seedlings. Oryzalin at 125 µM was the most effective chromosome doubling agent in this experiment. Phenotypic examination indicated that chromosome doubled (2n = 16x) plants displayed shorter stems, thicker leaves, and fewer but larger guard cells than the untreated controls.

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‘Schipkaensis’ common cherrylaurel (Prunus laurocerasus) is an important nursery crop across the United States. In our breeding efforts to reduce shot-hole symptoms and weediness, we have created chromosome doubled forms of this cultivar. Vegetative propagation is an important factor in nursery production, and we have found no studies that have looked at comparative adventitious rooting of stem cuttings using induced polyploids. The objective of this research was to determine if rooting ability varied between these two ploidy levels. Semihardwood stem cuttings from wild-type (22x) and polyploid (44x) ploidy levels were taken at the end of July 2015 and the beginning of July 2016. Cuttings were dipped in 1030 ppm (0.10%) indole-3-butyric acid (IBA) and 660 ppm (0.066%) 1-naphthaleneacetic acid (NAA) before being set in rooting substrate. After 1 month, cuttings were removed from substrate and data collected. Data included; rooting percentage, root number per rooted cutting, average root length, and total root length. In 2015, 88% of the cuttings from the 44x plants and 63% of the cuttings from the 22x plants rooted. In 2016, 100% of cuttings from both ploidy levels rooted. In both years, average root length and total root length were similar between ploidy levels; however, cuttings from 22x plants generally had more roots than those from 44x. Chromosome-doubled ‘Schipkaensis’ common cherrylaurel rooted effectively, and produce transplantable cuttings similar to the standard ploidy.

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A tissue culture protocol was developed to germinate immature Prunus lusitanica seeds in vitro. The study was conducted by first identifying the best media for germination, followed by investigating effects of seed conditioning. In Expt. I, seeds were collected 12 weeks after pollination (WAP) ± 1 week and placed on media after removing the pericarp. Eight different MS media (Murashige and Skoog, 1962) were tested (M1–M8) containing two concentrations each of 6-benzylaminopurine (BA), gibberellic acid (GA3), and sucrose. The longest shoots resulted from M4 (1.45 µm GA3, 6 µm BA, and 30 g·L−1 sucrose), followed by M1 (0 µm GA3, 3 µm BA, and 30 g·L−1 sucrose). Radicle and shoot emergence was greater than or equal to 90% for M1, M3, and M4 after a stratification treatment. In Expt. II, M1 was used to test root and shoot emergence at 6, 9, and 12 WAP, with and without cold stratification. Little success was seen 6 and 9 WAP, with only callus development in 6 WAP, nonstratified seed. Cold stratification increased shoot emergence in the 12 WAP group from 4% to 28%, appearing to be critical for shoot emergence. If the cotyledons are retained on the seed, future efforts to expedite breeding of P. lusitanica using in vitro germination should not be collected before 12 WAP and will benefit from cold stratification before germinating on M1 or M4. Chemical names: 6-benzylaminopurine (BA), gibberellic acid (GA3).

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