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Roberto F. Vieira and James E. Simon

To determine the mode of inheritance of citral, linalool, methylchavicol, and methylcinnamate in basil, controlled crosses were made between chemotypes rich in each of these constituents. Four stable Ocimum basilicum populations selected for high methylcinnamate (79%), methylchavicol (95%), linalool (82%), and citral (65%) respectively, served as parents. Crosses were made using chemotypes rich in terpenes (linalool × citral), in phenylpropanoids (methylchavicol × methylcinnamate), and a third that combines chemotypes from both biosynthetic pathways (linalool × methylchavicol). True hybrids were selfed in isolation and one hundred F2 plants were analyzed for their oil composition. The parents, the F1 hybrids and the F2 generation of all plants were evaluated in a field trial under identical environmental conditions. Plants were harvested at full flowering, and dried at 380 °C. Identification of essential oil constituents were confirmed by GC/MS. The F2 segregation data for each major oil constituent trait will be examined by c2 analysis tests. Preliminary results indicate that methylcinnamate segregates in a 3:1 ratio, and is a dominant major gene. In the two crosses using methylcinnamate chemotype as a female parent, the F2 population segregates in 80:22 and 65:28 methylcinnamate:non-methylcinnamate plant types, with P = 0.42 and 0.25 and c2=0.64 and 1.29, respectively. Analysis of the other crosses are being processed, evaluating qualitative and quantitatively the presence or absence of each constituent in their F2 population.

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Roberto F. Vieira and James E. Simon

Ocimum species are largely used in Brazil both as a condiment and in traditional medicine against bronchitis, cough, and sorethroat in the form of tea or syrup. As little research has examined the natural products from Brazilian basil, 14 accessions of Ocimum, including O. basilicum (4), O. campechianum (3), O. gratissimum (6), and O. kilimandsharicum (1), collected in Brazil were grown in the Purdue Univ. greenhouse and upon maturity harvested, the volatile oil extracted and analyzed by GC/MS. Thirty-one constituents were identified. Three accessions of O. gratissimum showed high content of eugenol (40% to 66%), while the other accessions contained either high thymol (33%) or p-cymene (28% to 42%). The constituents of the single O. kilimandscharicum included 1,8-cineole (39%), methyl-chavicol (21%), and ß-bisabolene (23%). O. campechianum accessions contained either high 1,8-cineole (62%) or high ß-caryophyllene (79%). O. basilicum could also be separated chemically: a linalool:methyl chavicol type (47:28%); one methyl chavicol type (72%), and a third, methyl cinnamate (61%). One accession was identified containing >90% trans-methyl cinnamate, which crystallized during extraction. Plants rich in targeted compounds, such as the one with 90% trans-methyl cinnamate, can be used as source of germplasm for breeding and potential commercialization

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Roberto F. Vieira, Peter Goldsbrough, and James E. Simon

Molecular markers were used to assess genetic diversity in basil (Ocimum L. spp., Lamiaceae). Using randomly amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) analysis, 11 primers generated 98 polymorphic bands, ranging from 300 to 2,000 base pairs, that discriminated among 37 accessions across nine Ocimum spp. Means of genetic similarities within Ocimum spp. showed that the domesticated species, O. minimum L. (0.887), O. basilicum L. (0.769), and O. ×citriodorum Vis. (0.711) had highest similarity indices within species, while the nondomesticated, O. americanum L. (0.580), O. gratissimum L. (0.408), and O. kilimandscharicum Guerke (0.559) showed the lowest similarity. RAPD results indicated that O. minimum should not be considered a distinct species but rather a variety of O. basilicum. Consistent clusters among all but one of the O. ×citriodorum spp., all containing citral as the major constituent, were identified using bootstrap analysis. RAPD analysis was useful in discriminating among Ocimum spp., although within species resolution will require a higher number of polymorphic bands.