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J.E. Staub and V. Meglic

Scientific disagreement about criteria for accurate classification of similar, if not seemingly identical, cultivars has led to spirited debate in legal and agricultural communities. The lack of universally acceptable working definitions of functional genetic distance and difference, as well as insufficient data on genetic diversity, has made it difficult to define a legal framework for cultivar discrimination. In order to satisfy the “distinctness” criterion during plant patenting, genetic diversity and difference must be described unequivocally in measurable terms. Moreover, the number of markers or other characteristics needed to identify the “nonobvious” nature of the cultigen will determine the breadth of protection under the patent. Increasingly, patent examiners must interpret novelty and distinctness in terms of molecular as well as gross phenotypic (flower color, plant habit, etc.) information. A description of difference using molecular markers may be more difficult compared to a description of function (i.e., how many markers are required to assign difference). Consequently, the effective use of molecular marker information in the legal community will require scientific agreement on the meaning of genetic distance as it relates to genetic difference.

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V. Meglic and R.T. Chetelat

The C.M. Rick Tomato Genetic Resources Center (TGRC) is a genebank of wild relatives, monogenic mutants, and miscellaneous genetic stocks of tomato. The wild species group includes representatives of all nine Lycopersicon spp., as well as four related Solanum species. One of the roles of the TGRC has been to foster the use of the widest available gene pool for tomato researchers. The wild nightshade Solanum lycopersicoides possesses a number of potentially useful traits, but has been untapped by breeders because of sterility and incompatibility barriers. We are using molecular markers to identify alien chromosomal segments introgressed from S. lycopersicoides into tomato. This project involves development of RFLP, RAPD, and isozyme marker linkage maps and their use in selection of homozygous segmental substitutions in backcross inbred progenies. In this fashion, a large proportion of the S. lycopersicoides genome has been integrated into the cultivated tomato. This study has also provided information on the nature of sterility and novel variation in hybrid derivatives.

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V. V. Meglic, T. F. Horejsi, J. E. Staub and J. D. McCreight

The genetic diversity of 400 U.S. melon germplasm plant introductions was assessed using 35 enzyme systems. Polymorphisms were observed at 24 putative loci (Ac, Acp1, Acp4, Ak2, Ak3. Ak4, Fdp1, Fdp2, Fdp4, Gpi, Idh, Mdh2, Mdh4, Mdh5, Mdhb, Mpi1, Mpi2, Pgd1, Pgd2, Pgm, Pep-g1, Pep-1a, Pep-pap, Skdh) representing 17 different enzymes. Sixteen loci demonstrated simple Mendelian inheritance. Multivariate analyses aided in reduction of data using 16 loci and linkage relationships were observed among the plant introductions. Two of 16 loci (Pgd1 and Acp1) segregated independently. Fourteen loci were assigned into three linkage groups (A-C): A Fdp1, Fdp2, Acp4, Skdh; B Mdh2, Mdh4, Mdh5, Mdh6, Pep-g1, Pgm; C Mpi2, Ac, Idh.

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J. Staub, J. Box, V. Meglic, T.F. Horejsi and J.D. McCreight

Principal component analyses of variation at 21 isozyme and 43 random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) loci in eight cucumber (GY-14a, G421, H-19, WI 2757, and PIs 432860, 458845, and 183967) and seven melon [Top Mark (TM), Doublon, Green Flesh Honeydew (GFH), Juane Canari (JC), Freeman cucumber (FC), Snakemelon (SM), and PI 124111] cultigens were used to determine the use of these markers for assessing genetic variation among and within populations of each species (outgroup = Cucumis metuliferus). RAPD and isozyme marker variation was related to previous taxonomic classification and available pedigree information. Although dendrograms derived from cluster analyses using species' variation at marker loci were dissimilar, these disparities were consistent with differences in the pedigrees and/or other information (e.g., morphological) known about each accession and species. Elite U.S. processing cucumbers (G421, GY-14a, and H-19) shared distinctive biochemical affinities. Doublon was differentiated from TM, GFH, and JC. Doublon had biochemical affinities with FC, SM, and PI 124111.