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Nnadozie C. Oraguzie, D. Ophardt, Matthew D. Whiting, Gregory A. Lang and Lynn E. Long

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Ali Akbar Ghasemi Soloklui, Ali Gharaghani, Nnadozie Oraguzie and Armin Saed-Moucheshi

The development of cultivars with broader climatic adaptation has recently become the objective of most fruit breeding programmers. Regarding the importance of genetic control of cold hardiness as an influential characteristic for pomegranate and lacking studies in this area, the genetic control of cold hardiness in pomegranate using a partial mating scheme was studied. Five parents, including ‘Rabab Post Ghermez Neyriz’, ‘Malas Yazdi’, ‘Poost Sefid Dezful’, ‘Malas Pishva Varamin’, and ‘Poost Nazok Torosh Abarkuh’ with different cold hardiness capability were screened following a cold hardiness test in the laboratory and an evaluation of cold injury after natural freezing events in the field. The five screened cultivars were crossed in half-diallel crossing scheme with a total of 10 crosses in the Spring of 2014. Cold hardiness of the parent cultivars and the F1 progenies were investigated using the electrolyte leakage (EL) method. Results showed that both general combining ability (GCA) and specific combining ability (SCA) were statistically significant. The hardiest parent (‘Poost Nazok Torosh Abarkuh’) showed the largest positive GCA effect (1560.59) for winter survival, suggesting that this parent is capable to produce tolerant offspring with high breeding values in crossing programs. The significant SCA in this study suggests that specific crosses should be targeted to produce highly capable offspring. Cross between ‘Poost Nazok Torosh Abarkuh’ and ‘Malas Pishva Varamin’ showed high value for SCA (1661.74), indicating capability for production of tolerant offspring to the cold condition. Furthermore, high broad-sense heritability (0.70) and moderate narrow-sense heritability (0.45) for cold hardiness indicate that a reasonable progress could be made in improvement of this trait through conventional breeding.

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Ali Akbar Ghasemi Soloklui, Ali Gharaghani, Nnadozie Oraguzie, Saeid Eshghi and Mohammadreza Vazifeshenas

Chilling and heat requirements can affect agroclimatic distribution, growing season, and the marketing period of pomegranate (Punica granatum L.) cultivars in commercial production. This study was carried out to determine the chilling and heat requirements of 20 Iranian pomegranate cultivars/accessions, and to also examine the correlation of these features with tree and fruit characteristics, as well as geographic and climatic parameters of the original environment the plant materials came from. One-year-old stem cuttings from mature trees were used for measurements of chilling and heat requirements. The results showed a range of variation in chilling requirement among cultivars from 233 to 633 hours and heat requirement from 4096 to 7928 growing degree hour (GDH). Based on chill hours accumulated, cultivars including Bihaste Ravar, Bihaste Sangan Khash, and Anar Siah were categorized as very low chill (233–266 hours), whereas cultivars Poost Nazok Torosh Abarkuh, Malas Yazdi, Jangali Poost Ghermez Roodbar, Rabab Poost Ghermez Neyriz, and Makhmal Malas Shahreza were grouped as low chill (600–633 hours). Variation in seed hardness from 15 to 78 N was also recorded. Chilling requirement showed a moderate correlation with stomatal density, seed hardness, and wind speed (r = 0.42, 0.44, and −0.39, respectively), whereas stomatal density showed correlations of r = −0.34 and −0.57 with altitude and wind speed, respectively. We suggest taking chilling and heat requirements into account when selecting individual’s cultivars and/or accessions suitable for cultivation in different agroclimatic regions.

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Nnadozie C. Oraguzie, David Ophardt, Matthew D. Whiting, Gregory A. Lang and Lynn E. Long

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James W. Olmstead, Matthew D. Whiting, David Ophardt, Nnadozie C. Oraguzie and Gregory A. Lang

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James W. Olmstead, Matthew D. Whiting, David Ophardt, Nnadozie C. Oraguzie and Gregory A. Lang

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James J. Luby, Peter A. Alspach, Vincent G.M. Bus and Nnadozie C. Oraguzie

Incidence and severity of fire blight [Erwinia amylovora (Burr.) Winslow, Broadhurst, Buchanan, Krumwiede, Rogers, and Smith] following field infection were recorded using families resulting primarily from open-pollination of Malus sylvestris (L.) Mill. var.domestica (Borkh.) Mansf. cultivars and a few other Malus Mill. sp. The families were structured as three sublines, planted in three successive years (1992 to 1994), of a diverse population of apple germplasm established at HortResearch, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand. The incidence of fire blight varied among the sublines with the oldest planting exhibiting more fire blight. Flowering trees were more likely to be infected than nonflowering trees, in terms of both incidence and severity. Furthermore, the level of fire blight was related to flowering date, with later flowering trees having higher levels. Thus, family means and narrow-sense heritability estimates were computed after first adjusting the fire blight score for flowering date by fitting a linear model. Provenance of origin of the maternal parent explained little variation except that M. sieversii Lebed. families were more resistant than M. sylvestris var. domestica families in one subline. Family means computed using all trees, and those from only flowering trees were highly correlated. Families from open-pollination of M. honanensis Rehder and M. xhartwiggii Koehne females were among the more susceptible. Those from several European M. sylvestris var. domestica cultivars as well as from M. baccata (L.) Borkh. and M. toringoides (Rehder) Hughes females were among the more resistant families. Narrow-sense heritability estimates ranged from 0.05 to 0.85 depending on the subline, with most estimates between 0.12 and 0.36. They were higher in the two older sublines that consisted primarily of open-pollinated families from M. sylvestris var. domestica, and lower in the younger subline that consisted primarily of M. sieversii, due to lower incidence and severity in the latter subline. Breeders who consider potential complications of juvenility, tree size, and flowering date in relation to infection periods should be able to exploit field epidemics to perform effective selection.

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Chengyan Yue, R. Karina Gallardo, James J. Luby, Alicia L. Rihn, James R. McFerson, Vicki McCracken, Nnadozie Oraguzie, Cholani Weebadde, Audrey Sebolt and Amy Iezzoni

Developing new cherry cultivars requires breeders to be aware of existing and emerging needs throughout the supply chain, from producer to consumer. Because breeding programs in perennial crop plants like sweet and tart cherries require both extended time and extensive resources, understanding and targeting priority traits is critical to improve the efficiency of breeding programs. This study investigated the relative importance of fruit and tree traits to sweet and tart cherry producers using ordered probit models. Tart cherry producers considered productivity and fruit firmness to be the most important traits, whereas sweet cherry producers regarded fruit size, fruit flavor, fruit firmness, freedom from pitting, and powdery mildew resistance as important traits. The location of producers’ orchards and their demographic backgrounds influenced their perceptions of the importance of traits. Our findings provide a quantitative basis to reinforce existing priorities of breeding programs or suggest new targets.

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Nnadozie C. Oraguzie, Sue E. Gardiner, Heather C.M. Basset, Mirko Stefanati, Rod D. Ball, Vincent G.M. Bus and Allan G. White

Four subsets of apple (Malus Mill.) germplasm representing modern and old cultivars from the repository and apple genetics population of the Horticulture and Food Research Institute of New Zealand Limited were used in this study. A total of 155 genotypes randomly chosen from the four subsets were analyzed for random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) variation. Nine decamer primers generated a total of 43 fragments, 42 of which were polymorphic across the 155 genotypes. Pairwise distances were calculated between germplasm subsets using the distance metric algorithm in S-PLUS, and used to examine intra-and inter-subset variance components by analysis of molecular variation (AMOVAR). A phenogram based on unweighted pair group method with arithmetic average (UPGMA) cluster analysis was constructed from the pairwise distances and a scatter plot was generated from principal coordinate analysis. The AMOVAR showed that most of the variation in the germplasm (94.6%) was found within subsets, suggesting that there is significant variation among the germplasm. The grouping of genotypes based on the phenogram and scatter plot generally did not reflect the pedigree or provenance of the genotypes. It is possible that more RAPD markers are needed for determining genetic relationships in apple germplasm. Nevertheless, the variation observed in the study suggests that the current practice of sublining populations in the first generation to control inbreeding may not be necessary in subsequent generations. If these results are confirmed by fully informative molecular markers, germplasm managers should reassess the structure of their genetics populations. There may be a need to combine sublines in order to capture the maximum genetic diversity available and to streamline breeding efforts.