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  • Author or Editor: Y. Xu x
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We examined effects of single-layer glass and double-layer antifog polyethylene films on growth and flowering of stock (Matthiola incana L.) and snapdragon (Antirrhinum majalis L.) in a 3-year period. Stock produced more buds/spike with shorter but thicker stems under single-layer glass and under antifog 3-year polyethylene, and showed higher photosynthetic capacity (P c) under single-layer glass than under other covers regardless of light regimes. Similarly, growth and flowering of snapdragon were significantly better under single-layer glass than in polyethylene houses. A supplemental light of 60 μmol·m-2·s-1 accelerated flowering by 20 to 25 days, improved flower quality, and eliminated differences in plant growth and quality of snapdragon between covering treatments. The P c of stock was lower under all polyethylene covers than under single-layer glass. Among the three antifog polyethylene films, a slightly higher P c was measured for plants under antifog 3-year polyethylene. However, there was no difference among covering treatments in the net photosynthetic rate (P N) at low light level (canopy level). Supplemental lighting reduced P c of stock leaves, especially under single-layer glass, and diminished differences in P c among covering treatments. Dry mass was more influenced by larger leaf area caused by higher leaf temperature than by P N. Overall, antifog 3-year polyethylene was a good covering material when both plant quality and energy saving were considered.

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Water potential at soil-root interface (WPs-r) appears to be a good indicator of soil water availability to the plants. However, it is not easy to measure it routinely. Plant water status is more convenient to manage from bulk soil water potential (WPsoil) determination if a good relationship between WPsoil and WPs-r can be established. In order to elucidate this relationship in different substrates, three soil mixes: Mix-1) composted bark, peat, sand; Mix-2) peat, bark, sand, compost; and Mix-3) peat, sawdust, sand, were used with Prunus × cistena. Two-year-old field grown plants were placed in a greenhouse. After soil water was depleted to different levels, WPsoi1, xylem water potential (WPxylem). transpir-ation as well as stomatal conductance were measured using a portable gas exchange system. WPs-r was calculated from these measured data. Plants grown in Mix-2 kept higher WPs-r until WPsoil decreased to -24 KPa, while WPs-r in the plants grown in Mix-1 began to decrease at -5 KPa of WPsoil. Mix-3 showed a medium critical WPsoil for WPs-r to decrease. Since there was a better availab-ilty of soil water to the plants, plants in Mix-2 also showed higher WPxylem. Dynamic analysis showed that plants in Mix-2 kept better plant water status mainly by avoiding water stress. Plants in Mix-3 also avoided water stress, but it was, at least in part, attributed to less leaf area

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Wide phenotypic diversity exists among American heirloom cultivars of watermelon (Citrullus lanatus var. lanatus). However, in published studies, low or no polymorphism was revealed among those heirlooms using isozyme or randomly amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) markers. In this study, experiments with inter-simple sequence repeat (ISSR) [also known as simple sequence repeat-(SSR-) anchored primers] and amplified fragment-length polymorphism (AFLP) markers produced high polymorphisms among watermelon heirloom cultivars. ISSR (111) and AFLP (118) markers (229 total) identified 80.2% to 97.8% genetic similarity among heirloom cultivars. The phylogenetic relations based on ISSR and AFLP markers are highly consistent with the parental records available for some of the heirloom cultivars, providing confidence in the dendogram constructed for heirlooms based on similarity values. As compared with RAPD markers, ISSRs and AFLPs are highly effective in differentiating among watermelon cultivars or elite lines with limited genetic diversity.

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In nursery plant production, optimum water use is important to maintain productivity and make this production environmentally sound. Water should be supplied when it becomes difficult to extract for the plant, at a bulk soil water potential threshold value that may vary with environmental conditions, species and substrate properties. The objective of this study was to determine the threshold value at which availability of water rapidly drops for three newly developed substrates to be used in the production of Prunus ×cistena. Xylem water potential and potential at the soil-root interface were used as indices of water availability and were compared with bulk soil water potential. Water was easily available (no drop in xylem or soil-root interface water potential) from container capacity down to a bulk soil water potential of about-10 kPa when xylem water potential was used as an indicator and -8 kPa when the soil-root interface water potential was chosen as the indicator. No significant differences in the threshold values were found between substrates, consistent with the absence of differences in the substrate physical properties. The differences in water availability among substrates were consistent with an observed difference in salt content. The important variability observed in the threshold suggests that plant based measures may be preferred to soil based measures in assessing water availability in artificial mixes.

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Genetic linkage map is being constructed for watermelon based on a testcross population and an F2 population. The testcross map comprises 262 markers (RAPD, ISSR, AFLP, SSR and ASRP markers) and covers 1,350 cM. The map comprises 11 large linkage groups (50.7–155.2 cM), 5 medium-size linkage groups (37.5–46.2 cM), and 16 small linkage groups (4.2–31.4 cM). Most AFLP markers are clustered on two linkage regions, while all other marker types are randomly dispersed on the genome. Many of the markers in this study are skewed from the classical (Mendelian) segregation ratio of1:1 in the testcross or the 3:1 ratio in the F2 population. Although the skewed segregation, marker order appeared to be consistent in linkage groups of the testcross and F2 population. A cDNA library was constructed using RNA isolated from watermelon flesh 1 week (rapid cell division stage), 2 weeks (cell growth and storage deposition stage, 4 weeks (maturation stage), and 5 weeks (postmaturation stage) post pollination. Over 1,020 cDNA clones were sequenced, and were analyzed using the Basic Local Alignment Search Tool (BLAST). The sequenced cDNA clones were designated as expressed sequenced tag (EST) markers and will be used in mapping analysis of watermelon genome.

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Genetic linkage map is being constructed for watermelon based on a testcross population and an F2 population. About 51.0% and 31.8% of the markers in the testcross and F2 populations are skewed form the expected segregation ratios. AFLP markers appeared to be clustered on linkage regions, while ISSR and RAPD markers are randomly dispersed on the genome. AFLP markers also have greater genetic distances as compared with ISSR and RAPD markers, resulting in significant increase of map distance. An initial genetic map (based on the testcross population) that contains 27 ISSR and 141 RAPD markers has a total linkage distance of 1,166.2 cM. The addition of 2 ISSR, 8 RAPD and 77 AFLP markers increased the genetic distance of the map to 2,509.9 cM. Similar results with AFLP markers were also shown in mapping experiments with an F2S7 recombinant inbred line (RIL) population that was recently constructed for watermelon. Although the skewed segregation, marker order appeared to be consistent in linkage groups of the testcross and the F2 population. Experiments with SSR, and EST markers are being conducted to saturate the linkage map of watermelon genome.

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Seventy-one amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP), 93 sequence related amplified polymorphism (SRAP), and 14 simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers were used to extend an initial genetic linkage map for watermelon [Citrullus lanatus (Thunb.) Matsum. & Nakai]. The initial map was based on 151 randomly amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) and 30 and inter-simple sequence repeat (ISSR) markers. A testcross population previously used for mapping of RAPD and ISSR markers was used in this study: {plant accession Griffin 14113 [C. lanatus var. citroide (L.H. Bailey) Mansf.] × the watermelon cultivar New Hampshire Midget (C. lanatus var. lanatus)} × PI 386015 [C. colocynthis (L.) Schrad.]. The linkage map contains 360 DNA markers distributed on 19 linkage groups, and covers a genetic distance of 1976 cM with an average distance of 5.8 cM between two markers. A genomic DNA clone representing 1-amino-cyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid (ACC-) synthase gene, involved in ethylene biosynthesis, was also mapped. As in previous mapping studies for watermelon, a large number of AFLP and SRAP markers were skewed away from the 1:1 segregation ratio, and had to be excluded from the final mapping analysis. The stringent mapping criteria (JoinMap 3.0 mapping program) produced linkage groups with marker order consistent with those reported in previous mapping study for watermelon.

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A genetic linkage map was constructed for watermelon based on a testcross population and an F2 population. The testcross map includes 312 markers (RAPD, ISSR, AFLP, SSR, and ASRP). This map covered a genetic distance of 1385 cM, and identified 11 large (50.7-155.2 cm), five intermediate (37.5-46.2 cm), and 16 small linkage groups (4.2-31.4 cm). Most AFLP markers are clustered in two linkage regions, while all other markers are randomly dispersed throughout the genome. Many of the markers in this study were skewed from the classical (Mendelian) segregation ratio of 1:1 in the testcross or 3:1 in the F2 population. The order of the markers within linkage groups was similar in the testcross and F2 populations. Additionally, a cDNA library was constructed using RNA isolated from watermelon flesh 1 week (rapid cell division stage), 2 weeks (cell growth and storage deposition stage), 4 weeks (maturation stage), and 5 weeks (mature fruit) after pollination. More than 1020 cDNA clones were sequenced, and analyzed using the basic local alignment search Tool (BLAST). The sequenced cDNA clones were designated as expressed sequenced tag (EST). The ESTs were searched for simple sequence repeats. About 7% of the ESTs contained SSR motifs. The ESTs containing SSRs are being used to design PCR primers and the putative markers are being tested for polymorphism among the parental lines of the mapping populations. Polymorphic markers will then be mapped using the mapping populations.

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