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  • Author or Editor: Richard L. Fery x
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The USDA–ARS has released a new pinkeye-type southernpea cultivar named GreenPack-DG. GreenPack-DG is the first pinkeye-type southernpea to be released that has a persistent green seed phenotype conditioned by both the green cotyledon gene (gc) and the green testa (gt) gene. The new cultivar was developed from a cross between Charleston Greenpack (green cotyledon phenotype) and the breeding line USVL 97-296 (green testa phenotype). Except for longer pods, GreenPack-DG is similar in appearance and maturity to Charleston Greenpack. Dry GreenPack-DG seeds have a richer and more-uniform green seed color than dry seeds of Charleston Greenpack. GreenPack-DG seeds are much less susceptible to color loss due to blanching when harvest is delayed than are seeds of green-cotyledon cultivars such as Charleston Greenpack. Color loss is a critical problem in production systems where preharvest desiccants are used to facilitate mechanical harvesting operations. The 7-day delay between application of the desiccant and initiation of harvesting operations can result in serious color degradation. Results of 3 years of replicated field tests at Charleston, S.C., indicate that GreenPack-DG yields are comparable to Charleston Greenpack yields. The new cultivar has excellent field resistance to blackeye cowpea mosaic virus and does not produce hard seeds. GreenPack-DG is recommended for trial by the frozen food industry as a replacement for Charleston Greenpack. Protection for GreenPack-DG is being sought under the Plant Variety Protection Act.

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A breeding program was initiated in 1990 to develop cream-, blackeye-, and pinkeye-type southernpea [Vigna unguiculata (L.)] cultivars homozygous for the gc gene conditioning green cotyledons. The green cotyledon trait allows harvest at the near-dry seed stage of maturity without loss of the seed's fresh green color. The ability to select for the gc gene in the embryo stage greatly facilitated its use in breeding programs, and the development of advanced breeding lines has proceeded at an accelerated rate. Sixteen F9 and 15 F10 breedinglines homozygous at the gc locus were available for preliminary field testing in 1995. The results of this field testing indicate that the efforts to incorporate the gc gene into elite horticultural germplasm have been successful. More importantly, the results of tests conducted with seed harvested at the dry stage of maturity indicate that several of the lines should produce an excellent processed product.

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