The U.S. National Plant Germplasm System is one of the world's largest national genebank networks focusing on preserving the genetic diversity of plants by acquiring, preserving, evaluating, documenting, and distributing crop-related germplasm to researchers worldwide. Maintaining viable germplasm collections is essential to world food security but comes at a cost. Redundancy within the collection can incur needless expense and occurs as a result of donations of similar material under different names from different donors. Alternatively, similarly named accessions from different donors can actually be genetically distinct. We evaluated 35 short-day onion (Allium cepa) accessions using microsatellite and targeted region amplified polymorphic (TRAP) molecular markers to compare newly acquired germplasm with existing accessions in the collection to determine differences and redundancies and to compare the use of each marker type in distinguishing the onion accessions. Both marker types distinguished differences and found similarities, but the results did not always agree. TRAP markers found one of the Italian Torpedo entries to be different, whereas the 10 microsatellite loci analyzed found no differences. In contrast, microsatellite analysis found all three Red Grano entries to be different, whereas TRAP analysis distinguished only one accession. The eight White Grano entries were separated into four groups by microsatellite markers and five groups by the TRAP markers. Discriminating among closely related accessions using molecular markers can require a large number of random marker loci, especially when differences may be limited to a single trait. TRAP markers were more efficient, uncovering ≈10 random polymorphic loci per primer pair, whereas microsatellite markers each uncovered differences at a single locus.
Sugars, including glucose, fructose, and sucrose, contribute significantly to the flavor and consumer acceptance of snap beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L.). Sugar accumulation and changes in sugar profiles during snap bean development contribute to overall assessments of quality for breeding lines and cultivars. Developing fruit from a diverse group of four snap bean cultivars containing Andean germplasm and one Mesoamerican dry bean cultivar were sampled at 5-day intervals from 10 to 30 days after flowering over 2 years. Glucose, fructose, and sucrose in pod and seed tissue was quantified using high-performance liquid chromatography. Percent seed mass relative to pod mass increased with days after flowering, but the rate of increase was heterogeneous among cultivars. Significant differences in sugar accumulation patterns of mono- and disaccharides were observed with time of development and between pods and seeds. Glucose and fructose decreased rapidly in pods and seeds with time after flowering. In contrast, sucrose concentration increased in pod tissue but remained constant in seeds of the snap bean cultivars with time after flowering. The patterns of changes in pod and seed sugar concentrations with time after flowering were similar among all snap bean cultivars. In contrast to the snap beans, seed sucrose increased with time after flowering in the Mesoamerican dry bean cultivar Puebla 152. No year by day after flowering interactions were observed for sugar accumulation patterns or sugar concentrations. Younger snap beans had the highest sweetness index based on observed sugar concentrations, percent seed mass, and perception of relative sweetness by the human palate. Although mean sweetness varied between cultivars, the rate of decrease in sweetness with time was the same for all five cultivars. These findings indicate that variation for sweetness exists in snap beans and can be exploited by breeding to develop cultivars with a potentially more desirable, sweet flavor.