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Mark A. Mikel

To determine the genealogy of cultivated lettuce in the United States, a survey was conducted on the pedigree of proprietary and publicly developed lettuce cultivars registered from 1970 through 2004. This was facilitated through information furnished by the U.S. Plant Variety Protection Act, U.S. patent, and journal publication of registered cultivars. In total, there were 328 registered cultivars of which 90.5% (297 cultivars) were from proprietary and 9.5% (31) from public breeding programs. The lettuce cultivars of this era are 61.6% crisphead, 19.5% loose leaf, 13.7% cos/romaine, 4.9% butterhead, and 0.3% latin lettuce types. To facilitate an understanding of current U.S. lettuce germplasm, the most recombined and putatively elite cultivars in the development of new cultivars were identified. The 10 most recombined cultivars were ‘Salinas’ (parent of 28 new cultivars), ‘Calmar’ (27), ‘Vanguard’ (22), ‘Vanguard 75’ (13), ‘Vanmax’ (13), ‘Prize Head’ (12), ‘Parris Island Cos’ (12), ‘Empire’ (11), ‘Great Lakes 659’ (11), and ‘Red Coach 74’ (10). The types of breeding populations used for new cultivar development during this era were two-parent (52% of new cultivars), within cultivar selection (31%), three-parent (7%), backcross two or greater (5%), backcross one (2%), four or more parents (2%), and interspecific cross (1%).