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Robert L. Jarret

Mature fruit of 295 accessions of Capsicum baccatum from the USDA/ARS Capsicum germplasm collection were characterized for fruit length, width, weight, and color. Mean fruit weight was determined to be 5.91 g with a range of 0.15 to 22.8 g. Mean fruit length was 6.01 cm with a range of 0.8 to 16.0 cm. Mean fruit width was 1.86 cm and a range of 0.5 to 4.75 cm. Distributions of all characteristics were positively skewed and failed the Kolmogorov-Smirnov test for normality. The distribution of fruit weight values was the most highly skewed, possibly reflecting a more intense human selection pressure for this characteristic. Distributions of fruit width, length, weight, and length:width were leptokurtic (long-tailed). Ninety-three percent of accessions were elongate. Mature fruit colors included red (73.6%), orange (19.7%), yellow (3%), green (0.3%), and mixed (3%). These data suggest that variability for mature fruit characteristics within this germplasm collection is considerable and that variability for fruit length, width, weight, and color is sufficient to provide the basis for the improvement of the aji crop.

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Robert L. Jarret

Patterns of diversity among thirty diploid clones of banana (Musa acuminata Colla.), collected in Papua New Guinea and the surrounding islands between 1987 and 1989, were examined genetically using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and random primers, to detect random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPDs). PCR products were visualized on ethidium bromide stained agarose gels. Twenty of 60 random primers examined detected RAPDS in CTAB-extracted genomic DNA. Banding patterns ranged from very simple (1 or 2 bands/gel) to very complex (more than 20 bands/gel). All 30 Musa clones were distinguishable from each other based on their unique RAPD banding pattern. Principal component analysis (PCA) revealed several clusters of closely related clones within the materials examined. However, these clusterings were not correlated with either the geographic origin or the morphological characteristics of the clones. A role of the use of RAPDs in germplasm characterization is discussed.

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A. Graves Gillaspie Jr. and Robert L. Jarret

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Peggy Ozias-Akins and Robert L. Jarret

The nuclear DNA content of 53 accessions from 24 Ipomoea (Convolvulaceae) species, including four sweetpotato cultivars, was determined by flow cytometry of DAPI-stained nuclei. Ploidy level and DNA content were significantly correlated within the genus, but more highly so within species that contained multiple cytotypes. DNA content of cultivated Z. batatas (L.) Lam. (4.8 to 5.3 pg/2C nucleus) and feral tetraploid I. batatas (3.0 to 3.5 pg/2C nucleus) was estimated from the known DNA content of chicken erythrocytes (2.33 pg), which were used as an internal standard. Tetraploid forms of Z. cordato-triloba Dennstedt also were identified. Ploidy analysis using flow cytometry is rapid and suitable for large-scale experiments such as studying the genetic structure of populations of Z. batatas and related species. Chemical name used: 4′,6-diamidino-2-phenylindole (DAPI).

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Robert L. Jarret, Jason Bolton and L. Brian Perkins

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Mario I. Buteler, Don R. LaBonte and Robert L. Jarret

Microsatellites or simple sequence repeats (SSRs) were used to characterize 20 sweetpotato genotypes and to assign paternity for offspring from crosses among them. The PCR amplifications were performed with each of the sweetpotato genotypes and primers flanking a SSR loci previously characterized with the varieties Beauregard and Excel and 20 offspring from a cross among them. The PCR reaction products were separated in nondenaturing 12% acrylamide gels run at 25 V·cm–1 for 5 hours, and DNA fragments were visualized with silver staining. Gels were scanned on a flat bed scanner and analyzed using the Pro-RFLP software package. Three primer pairs were sufficient to produce an allelic profile capable of differentiating the 20 genotypes from each other. More than seven alleles/loci were found using each of the three primer pairs assayed. Occasionally primers produced allelic products clearly localized in two or three regions of the gel. These multiple loci segregated independently in a diploid fashion. This evidence suggests that there is not total homology among the three sweetpotato genomes.

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C.S. Prakash, Guohao He and Robert L. Jarret

The polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based DNA amplification fingerprinting (DAF) approach was used to investigate genetic relationships among 30 U.S. sweetpotato (Ipomoea batatas L. Lam.) genotypes including heirloom cultivars and recent releases. Phenogram, pairwise similarity matrix, and principal coordinate plots were developed based on Jaccard's coefficients using band-sharing data generated by seven octamer primers. All cultivars showed unique fingerprint patterns indicating the utility of DAF in cultivar identification. Many heirloom cultivars such as `Creole' and `Porto Rico' were readily differentiated from recently developed cultivars. Modern cultivars such as `Jewel', `Carver', `Nugget', and `Scarlet' exhibited a high degree of similarity reflecting ancestral relatedness. `Regal' and `Excel', recently developed using a population-based breeding approach, showed greater divergence from all other cultivars. Those cultivars, developed as a result of somatic mutations, exhibited high levels of genetic similarity to their normal-type parents and yet had distinct fingerprint profiles. With few exceptions, genetic relationships derived from DAF data appear to be consistent with available pedigree information.

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Diego Fajardo, Don R. La Bonte and Robert L. Jarret

The USDA gene bank currently maintains 668 accessions of cultivated sweetpotato and 219 accessions of related Ipomoea species. Information on the genetic diversity of the collection does not exist due to funding constraints. The development of a core collection would provide a subset of accessions that represent the genetic diversity of the main collection with a minimum of repetitiveness. The small size of the core collection would facilitate the evaluation of the accessions for economically important traits. The objective of this research is to develop a core collection of Papua New Guinea sweetpotato germplasm using the Amplified Fragment Length Polymorphisms (AFLPs) marker system. This approach to quantifying genetic diversity would later serve as a model for the development of a USDA sweetpotato germplasm core collection. The germplasm choosen for this study was collected from this crop's secondary center of genetic diversity based on its potential as a source of new traits. All genotypes were fingerprinted using four primer combinations that generated 224 markers. The molecular data was then analyzed using NTSYSpc 2.0 program to determine the relatedness of the genotypes. The molecular analysis showed a homogeneous genetic constitution. The extent of diversity among accessions was correlated with the geographic origin of the plant material.

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Diego Fajardo, Don R. La Bonte and Robert L. Jarret

The USDA gene bank currently maintains 668 accessions of cultivated sweetpotato and 219 accessions of related Ipomoea species. Information on the genetic diversity of the collection does not exist due to funding constraints. The development of a core collection would provide a subset of accessions that represent the genetic diversity of the main collection with a minimum of repetitiveness. The small size of the core collection would facilitate the evaluation of the accessions for economically important traits. The objective of this research is to develop a core collection of Papua New Guinea sweetpotato germplasm using the Amplified Fragment Length Polymorphisms (AFLPs) marker system. This approach to quantifying genetic diversity would later serve as a model for the development of a USDA sweetpotato germplasm core collection. The germplasm choosen for this study was collected from this crop's secondary center of genetic diversity based on its potential as a source of new traits. All genotypes were fingerprinted using four primer combinations that generated 224 markers. The molecular data was then analyzed using NTSYSpc 2.0 program to determine the relatedness of the genotypes. The molecular analysis showed a homogeneous genetic constitution. The extent of diversity among accessions was correlated with the geographic origin of the plant material.