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  • Author or Editor: Malli Aradhya x
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Currently, 94% of California fig production is dried or otherwise processed, but there is interest in expanding fresh fig sales. Since cultivars dominating the industry were largely selected for dried fig use, the fig collection of the National Clonal Germplasm Repository (NCGR) in Winters, Calif., was screened for traits of interest in fresh fruit production. For some traits, the bearing collection of 137 accessions was screened, while for most traits, data was collected on a core group of 30 accessions. While current commercial cultivars feature flavors of honey or caramel, some NCGR accessions have bright fruity flavors, reminiscent of berries or citrus, as well as noticeable acidity. Considerable variation was observed for time of maturity. Breba (figs on previous year's wood ripe in June/July) production was markedly greater in `King' than in any other core-group genotype, with ≈3× more fruit per branch than the next most breba-productive variety and 8× higher than the commercial standards. Earliness of ripening in the large collection was most pronounced in `Yellow Neches', `Orphan', and `Santa Cruz Dark', with 3× as many ripe fruit per tree in early August as the earliest commercial standard. Several commercial standards scored among the varieties with greatest late-season production (≈200 fruit per tree ripe after mid-September), comparing favorably with `Zidi', `Panachee', and `Ischia Black', among others. The SSC at commercial ripeness ranged from 13% to 19%, and SSC at tree-ripeness averaged 30% higher than in commercially ripe fruit. Several accessions were observed to have fruit traits that might also contribute to sustained quality through market channels.

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Sixty-two persimmon selections, including 16 Italian, 9 Spanish, 16 Japanese, 6 Korean, and 5 Chinese cultivars, were evaluated for genetic differences by AFLP analysis. Four-hundred-seventy characters were scored. Similarities were calculated by the method of Nei and Li. Relationships among cultivars were evaluated by UPGMA clustering and neighbor joining. Most cultivars were quite diverse (0.60 to 0.80 similarity between cultivars), while similarities among groups were generally less than 0.60. Both UPGMA and neighbor joining produced clusters for the European and Asian cultivars. Spanish and Italian cultivars did not cluster, while Chinese and Korean cultivars formed distinct groups. The diversity within groups was greater than the diversity between groups. In addition, the presence of several Japanese cultivars in the European group and Spanish cultivars in the Asian group suggest that similar, but diverse progenitors were used in the development of the current cultivars. Duplicate accessions of `Kaki Tipo' from different sources were clearly different by AFLP pattern (similarity less than 0.85).

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